New Zealand artist pays tribute to Rob Stewart and Sharkwater

By Alexandra Heilbron on March 27, 2017 | 11 Comments

New Zealand mural by Freeman White in honor of Rob StewartOcean conservation foundation PangeaSeed has gathered 30 artists from around the world for Oceans Festival Sea Walls in the coastal city of Napier in New Zealand.

A mural depicting a diver filming sharks was designed and painted by New Zealand artist Freeman White as a tribute to late Sharkwater filmmaker Rob Stewart.

Freeman had help from student John Berryman, who was a volunteer for the festival. The mural also features Hammerhead sharks, which were Rob’s favorites. The piece includes a quote from Rob that reads: “Conservation is the preservation of human life on earth.”

The mural was painted in five days during the festival from March 20 to 25 and is Freeman’s largest mural to date at approximately 23 x 4 metres.

Freeman White mural in New Zealand to honor Rob Stewart's memoryFreeman told us he was approached by Tre Packard, the founder of PangeaSeed, saying, “Tre approached me with the idea of creating a tribute to Rob and his amazing work it the field of shark conservation. I was deeply affected when watching Sharkwater and felt that it would be a great honour to paint a mural in tribute to Rob.”

Rob went missing during a dive in Florida on January 31, 2017. He was working on a sequel to Sharkwater at the time. The sequel, titled Sharkwater: Extinction, is still in production and will be completed by his team to honor his memory. ~Alexandra Heilbron

Comments & Discussion

  1. Tony • March 27, 2017 @ 11:58 AM

    What a breathtaking work of art. Really wonderful to see people all over the world paying tribute to Rob. I look forward to the next Sharkwater!

  2. Teresa • March 27, 2017 @ 12:03 PM

    What a thoughtful tribute, lovely work!

  3. Ashley • March 27, 2017 @ 12:15 PM

    Such a beautiful way to honour Rob’s life!

  4. robert fitzpatrick • March 27, 2017 @ 12:39 PM

    too bad the quote is wrong!! the actual quote is Life on earth NOT human life on earth..

  5. Vicki Kunkel • March 27, 2017 @ 1:17 PM

    Very beautiful!!!!!!!

  6. Nancy Cavallin • March 27, 2017 @ 1:36 PM

    What a wonderful tribute to Rob.

  7. Jen Gutierrez • March 27, 2017 @ 7:34 PM

    This is beautiful. Hammerheads were Rob’s favourite. #RIPROBSTEWART

  8. Ashley • March 28, 2017 @ 12:25 AM

    This is beautiful. Rest in peace Rob, your legacy lives in through all of us.

  9. Adrian Nicholson • March 28, 2017 @ 2:59 PM

    I didn’t know Rob ,but wish I did. He inspired me to join the journey to help save sharks as well as our oceans.Im not going to make a movies and force people to open thier eyes,I’ll leave that to the professionals but I will buy those movies and show my kids.I believe like Rob did that the way to change minds is to be the one to groom them.Thanks again Rob and your memory will never die…

  10. Karen • March 28, 2017 @ 3:26 PM

    Awesome tribute!! Very powerful art piece that sums up Rob’s passions. I especially love the Rays! Thank You!

  11. Samantha • March 28, 2017 @ 7:37 PM

    Gorgeous. Rob would have loved this, it’s amazing, I hope it stays there forever.

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