Biji-biji Initiative has been encouraging the creative and artistic usage of waste materials such as plastic, to generate aesthetic value for the environment, society and the local economy. Our Re-Imagine Consumption campaign aims to drive the public to see the beauty in waste and thus, enrich people’s mindset on single-use plastic.
Plastic has always been considered as the destruction of all things green and eco-friendly. But, have you ever wondered if it’s possible for art to inspire action to stop plastic pollution?
Our Re-Imagine Consumption campaign is seen as a foundation to help the public understand how art and imagination can be incorporated into plastic waste. To learn more, watch the third episode of the Re-Imagine Consumption series to understand how the Biji-biji team contribute plastic art to the betterment of Pulau Ketam without compromising the island’s ecosystem.
There has been recent media attention on the concept of plastic art. Such sculptures and installations send strong messages about plastic pollution and how the power of the consumer decides where society is headed in. Isn’t it hard to believe that something as ubiquitous as a used plastic bottle could ever be turned into a thing of beauty? Let’s explore these 5 artworks that put the spotlight on single-use plastic.
1. Plastic Bottle Fish by Rio+20
The giant installation consists of three fish constructed using discarded plastic bottles. It is displayed on Botafogo beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as part of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). There is also a slogan written beside the installation: ‘Recicle suas atitude’, that loosely translates to ‘Recycle your attitude’. The sculpture was created to raise public awareness on the importance of recycling and the risks that plastic bottles have on the natural environment, specifically animals that live in the sea. The sculptures are illuminated from the inside at night creating a pretty spectacular light show. This is such a beautiful piece to encourage people to rethink how they approach single-use plastics as well as, to protect our species.
2. When the Beach Met the Bay by Lisa Be
This installation is a mosaic piece composed of approximately 24,000 plastic bottle caps. It was created by artist, Lisa Be, with the help from her educational community-based art initiative, L.B. KIDS, who collected the bottle caps around the area. It is installed on a public wall in Long Beach, New York, and it was designed to represent the allusion to the night of Hurricane Sandy. This art installation also celebrates the community strength that has grown in the storm’s aftermath and at the same time, calling attention to the increasingly problematic concentrations of plastic in our oceans.
3. Flash, the Marlin by Washed Ashore
This 850 lbs Marlin sculpture is made out of the plastic waste that was washed up on Oregon beaches, like sunglasses, toothbrushes, beer cans and even, a toilet seat. It is displayed at the National Zoo in Washington to represent how plastic pollution is critically harming the animals, especially Marlins, as they require clean, unpolluted water to stay alive. The team of Washed Ashore builds and exhibits aesthetically powerful art to educate a global audience about plastic pollution in oceans and waterways. Haseltine Pozzi, the leader of Washed Ashore, initiated this to spark positive changes in consumer habits. She believed exhibiting pounds and pounds of trash, shaped into animals that are most affected by ocean pollution, was the solution to the problem.
4. The ‘Strawpocalypse’ by Benjamin Von Wong
This astounding 10 ft tall installation by Benjamin Von Wong, a visual artist, was created to encourage people to turn down their next straw when they order a drink at a cafe, bar or restaurant. The ‘Strawpocalypse’ is represented by the parting of the plastic sea to ignite the problem of oceans being saturated by plastic straws. In collaboration with Starbucks Vietnam and Zero Waste Saigon, they gathered a total of 168,000 straws recovered from the streets of Vietnam, to bring this sculpture to life. Wong believes that with art, he can create “something beautiful and unique out of an environmental tragedy”.
5.The Bristol Whales by Cod Steaks
This installation consists of two life-sized whales, made from willow that was harvested locally, and an ‘ocean’, made from 70,000 plastic bottles that were upcycled from previous marathon events in Bath and Bristol. It was designed and built by Cod Steaks, an award-winning exhibition designing company, to represent the beauty and fragility of our oceans and the increasing human threats that they face.