This project is my response to the horrifying and steadily escalating amount of non-degradable waste that we pump into the environment daily.
Approximately 5 trillion pieces of plastic are estimated to be floating around the world’s oceans. The total weight of plastic in our oceans could outweigh the fish there by 2050. Whale deaths due to ingestion of plastics are becoming far too common – just two years ago a pod of 13 sperm whales all washed ashore dead from ingestion of plastic waste.
In 2018 the Dhimurru rangers based in eastern Arnhem Land collected over 1,000kg of plastic waste on their beaches.
Plastic bags at least 40 years old have been found in mangroves near the Brisbane River, showing how long these bags remain in the environment.
In the Mariana Trench, the deepest point of the ocean, every single amphipod captured had at least one plastic fibre in its stomach.
The evidence is there for anyone to see, and yet we continue to purchase and throw away unnecessary plastic on a daily basis. The problem is, there is no ‘away’. Every single piece of plastic that every one of us has ever discarded throughout our lives still exists on this planet.
Faced with the frustration of seeing so many potentially useful things being thrown away, and knowing the environmental disaster that they were causing, I began to consider them as an art resource.
My aim is to create art that encourages people to think about our waste problem, and hopefully to begin to make choices that minimise this. Here the viewer is encouraged to walk between the fish and the towering wave of discarded plastics, recognising objects that we throw away daily.
An important aspect of this piece is that, apart from a few structural exceptions, I have only used materials diverted from landfill.
The youngest of five children born and raised in the south-west Queensland bush, I grew up using my imagination as my best friend. All my family improvised and created as a matter of course, so I had plenty to emulate. My love of the environment was a natural part of my life.
Although I constantly drew and painted, my formal art education didn't begin until my late 20s, when as a single parent I enrolled in the DDIAE to study Fine Arts. I experimented with a number of media during my studies, and this approach has continued through my career, so I work equally comfortably in 2D and 3D.
Since graduating in 1990 I have been involved in many and varied projects, ranging through costuming and puppet-making for stage productions, silk banner production, portraiture, screenprinting, cake decorating, public sculptures and a six-storey ceramic tile mural.
Over the past few years, my art has melded with my concern for the environment, using landfill to address concerns about where our unbridled production and consumption is leading us.
Downlands past student.
I admire and learn from a huge range of artists, and have done so over a long time. Artists such as Benjamin Von Wong, Alison McDonald, Bordallo II, Tilda Shalof, Tom Deininger, Robert Bradford and many others have been my inspiration for this work.
Showing the single artwork