In fall of 2023, Hannah Keats (MFA Candidate, FSU Studio Art) was awarded first place in the Nature Inspires Art Contest hosted by The Nature Conservancy. The theme for the year’s contest was “Finding Strength In Nature” and it sought out artwork that deals with conservation efforts in Florida. Her contest entry “Bite”, an oil painting created in response to a shark fishing contest that occurred in Jupiter, FL, utilizes oil paint on canvas to depict a shark jaw intertwined with orchids, showcasing the fragility of sharks while also highlighting their beauty and strength.
The painting itself will be on display at the Lighthouse ArtCenter, in Tequesta, FL, for the month of February. On February 8th, during the reception for the event, Keats will give a talk on shark conservation. In October she was also asked to give a talk on shark conservation at Blowing Rocks Preserve in Jupiter, FL.
Bite, Oil on Canvas, 40″x40″, 2022
Keats’ on her painting selected for the show:
“A couple years ago, I stumbled upon a shark jaw in an antique shop and was overjoyed. Sharks have been my favorite animal since childhood and one of my hobbies is looking for shark teeth on the beach, so I bought it. After buying it I planned on doing a painting of it, but was scared of not doing it justice, so I waited (way too long tbh). Two years later, I felt like it was time to paint it.
Recently, there was a shark fishing tournament in Jupiter, Florida, and it absolutely broke my heart. Local 10, the local news for Palm Beach County stated, “Nearly a dozen bull sharks were killed last weekend in a contest to see who could catch the biggest.” Removing apex predators from the environment will have a detrimental effect on the environment long term and allowing a fishing tournament that hurts the environment so much is ridiculous. Sharks are such an important part of our oceans and overfishing, reef bleaching, warming waters, pollution, micro plastics and so many other factors are hurting them as a species and the ocean as a whole. My heartbreak over the declining shark population/this fishing tournament inspired me to move forward with this painting as a way of reconciling with what’s happening to our oceans. Our oceans need help and allowing events like this and not acknowledging the impact they have is detrimental.”