The Earth is an ocean planet, providing us with food to eat and keeping our atmosphere healthy. Without it we cannot survive.

Expo 2020 will look at how we can work together to stem the tide of degradation and transform our oceans from victims of climate change to an essential part of the solution, from Country Pavilions with designs inspired by the ocean waves and an innovative community art project that uses discarded ocean waste to promote ocean conservation, to a dedicated focus on oceans and ocean economies during Expo’s Water Week.

As we mark World Ocean Day on 8 June, we are pleased to share an exciting overview of some of the ways Expo 2020 will take our visitors on a journey through the depths of the ocean.

OCEAN-THEMED COUNTRY PAVILIONS AT EXPO 2020

Norway Pavilion

The Norway Pavilion will allow you to explore the deep blue sea and learn about the importance of ocean conservation – all without changing into a wetsuit. Visitors will find out about Norway’s seafaring heritage and its focus on maritime activities by taking an interactive journey from beneath the seabed to the water’s surface. The pavilion will highlight some of the most pressing environmental issues facing our oceans, and showcase cutting-edge innovations that could help to overcome these challenges.

Philippines Pavilion

Designed to resemble the coral reef or ‘Bangkóta’, and featuring stunning imagery by underwater photographer Scott Tuason, the Philippines Pavilion will allow visitors to discover defined, free-flowing, open spaces, reflecting how Filipino culture embraces openness and meaningful encounters, connected around the world by travel, migration, and technology. The multi-level structure is built on the idea of connectivity and permeability, enabling visitors to experience the island nation and its resilient, creative people. It will showcase a nation with millennia of history, a sustainable culture and a vibrant vision of its future.

Tonga Pavilion

Known as the Last Kingdom of the Pacific, Tonga invites visitors see the world, and our impact on it, through the eyes of a child. Children will be welcomed to the pavilion by a young Tongan boy, Lafi, who will introduce visitors to his best friend, Lei the humpback whale. The pavilion showcases the treasures that exist in the Tongan waters, including schools of fish, colourful coral reefs and a whale swimming leisurely on the floor, giving visitors the feeling they are walking on water. Children will also start to understand the impact that humans are having on the marine environment through a physical installation in which Lei has to be rescued from amid a sea of plastic.

Fiji Pavilion

Fiji is known as the home of happiness – it is this that propels this small island nation forward despite the population facing many challenges due to rising sea levels. Aptly titled ‘Riding the waves of happiness’, the pavilion’s visitor experience highlights Fiji’s warm, welcoming spirit and multi-cultural society, as well as showcasing the country’s role as the custodians of the world’s largest, most peaceful and abundant ocean. A sombre, immersive underwater experience, featuring projections, clouds and waves, gives visitors an insight into how rising sea levels are impacting the country, before revealing how Fiji has become a leader and advocate for combatting climate change.

Seychelles Pavilion

Taking visitors on a treasure hunt, the Seychelles Pavilion showcases the natural beauty and history of the islands, an almost untouched piece of paradise. However, as visitors will discover, the country’s white sandy beaches and glittering waters are under threat from a range of issues, including plastic pollution and a climate change crisis that bleaches coral reefs and drowns islands. The Seychelles Pavilion aims to instill a sense of obligation in visitors to protect the islands’ natural treasures, as well as highlighting the steps that are being taken to secure the country’s present and future through leading blue economy initiatives, such as its pioneering blue bond.

St Kitts and Nevis Pavilion

The rich cultural heritage of St Kitts and Nevis is explored through beauty, food and music. Visitors will be invited to enjoy the calm scenes of an island paradise through a multisensory experience. By peering into small windows, each visitor will be able to find themselves interacting with the country’s vibrant natural environment. The light reflected by the mesh ceiling creates an aquamarine atmosphere, which makes visitors feel like they are walking underwater.

HAMMOUR HOUSE AT EXPO 2020 DUBAI

Approximately eight million metric tonnes of rubbish are dumped into rivers and oceans each year. This includes discarded fishing nets that are left to drift through the water, killing many marine species that become entangled. Known as ‘ghost nets’, these silent killers are the focus of a community art project at Expo 2020 called Hammour House. Artists have joined forces to create installations, using this marine debris, to raise awareness of ocean pollution and promote conservation of the marine environment.

SPOKESPEOPLE AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW

Ahmed Al Enezi, Senior Manager, Arts and Culture, Expo 2020 Dubai

As Senior Manager of Arts and Culture at Expo 2020 Dubai, Ahmed Al Enezi is responsible for ensuring the development and delivery of compelling and robust cultural content. This includes overseeing contemporary art installations on site, as well as visualising and leading the community art project, Hammour House. Ahmed’s previous roles include Assistant Scientist and Policy Analyst in marine biodiversity at the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, where he supported the development of marine conservation policy and ran a number of awareness campaigns.

Sue Ryan, Hammour House Visual Artist

Sue Ryan is a North Queensland-based artist who works in a range of mediums, including painting, printmaking and sculpture, and is a specialist in workshops and cultural programmes. Sue has worked intensively with indigenous artists from the Cape York region, helping to develop and promote their art nationally and internationally.

Manager of Lockhart River Art Centre from 2001 to 2007, Sue was then appointed to write a scoping study for Arts Queensland and GhostNets Australia – an alliance of saltwater communities working together to protect the marine environment – on the prospects of using ghost nets as the basis for art in the indigenous communities where they were collected. Her report was a blueprint for the development of what was to become ghost net art. Sue became Director of the Ghost Net Art Project in 2009. Sue continues to work with indigenous and non-indigenous artists to facilitate environmental community arts projects.