Play your part with
Written by Carolyn Djebbari @WACThurrock
WeAreCreativesThurrock.UK had been invited to exhibit at the #BeachofDreams event on July 31st at Grays Beach Riverside Park. We set up our stall and Hey Presto!... a whale appeared. Well, it wasn't quite like that. In actual fact, from conception to creation, the whale project spanned a few months.
In the beginning, Neil Woodbridge, CEO of Thurrock Lifestyle Solutions (TLS) said, 'Plastic pollution in the Thames is a major problem. I want you to knock up something to highlight the issue.' Knock up something? We're not Blue Peter!
Neil was right though. Thames21 and the Port of London Authority (PLA), clear up over 200 tons of rubbish from the Thames every year. That's the equivalent weight of 16 double-decker buses!
So we put our heads together and finally came up with the idea of the whale sculpture but not necessarily thinking it would be so big.
By the time we had collected enough waste materials and cleaned them, to make the whale, it was obvious we needed a large area to build it. Up stepped Teresa O'Keeffe and the Riverside Community Big Local. 'No problem' said Teresa, and duly provided us with a shop unit in Grays to get the sculpture built. Oh the power of positive collaboration.
The floor of the shop unit became festooned with waste materials, tools and sawdust. The sawdust was from us scratching our heads as to where to begin.
The sculpture took nearly three weeks to complete. Three weeks of sweat, more than the occasional swear word and then satisfaction. We were pleased with the completed whale and felt sure it conveyed the intended message.
The whale sculpture is an example of Eco Artivism, a movement that uses waste materials in its art work to highlight the need for social and political change to prevent and reverse the damage we are inflicting upon our planet with our waste materials. By 2050, plastic in the ocean will outweigh the fish.
In Thurrock this year, we had a council workers strike that led to a prolonged period of no bin collections. As my carboard and plastics began to mount up, I realised just how much I am buying purely in packaging, and then throwing away. It was a stark realisation.
This artwork was made by removing and shrinking the labels from 2 litre soda bottles. Inspired from the work of Itay Magen I decided to give the hair a recycled twist.
I decided to reuse and repurpose some of the waste products by using them in my art. It was incredible to see how much I could utilise to produce pieces of interest. In one sense I was bound by the limitations of adaptability the materials would provide but it made my thought processes and concepts more fluid to overcome the obstacles.
Made from single use plastic bottles .
I found my Eco Art to be challenging, enjoyable and educating and I recommend to everyone to have a go at creating from waste materials and to experience the profound realisations that have taught me so much.
Made during lockdown from carboard food packaging, old painted canvases and supermarket leaflets.
The world is in crisis and we need to act now before the effects of pollution are irreversible. "Today's IPCC Working Group 1 Report is a code red for humanity," said UN Secretary-General, António Guterres.
You can get involved with making a positive change to our planet during Green Week Thurrock (18th - 26th September). Go to www.ceceluna.co.uk/greenweekthurrock/ and sign up to help.