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Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Sixth Gyre: Art, Oceans, and Plastic Pollution - Marine Debris Art Exhibit in Hawaii - 20-25 March 2011

© 2010 Pam Longobardi
The past few months have been busy planning a Marine Debris Art Exhibit for the 5th International Marine Debris Conference being held in Honolulu, Hawaii this March. In August of 2010 my collaborator Pam Longobardi a professor of Art at Georgia State University, herself a talented artist, and I submitted a proposal to organize an Exhibit showcasing the marine debris art created by a group of talented professional artists.  The conference organizers NOAA and UNEP have supported our efforts and over the last 6 months we have been putting together a wonderful collaboration of talented and internationally recognized artists. The art selected for this exhibit was produced by 7 professional artists who have devoted much of their study to both understanding and interpreting the social causes and ecological challenges of marine pollution. The collaborating artists are internationally recognized for their ability to utilize art to visually interpret the human impacts of consumption and how that impact extends to marine ecosystems. The pieces of art in this exhibit reflect that aptitude. It is hoped that this exhibit will inspire thought about the role art can play interpreting conservation issues to the public, and how art may also inspire creative solutions from viewers.

Guitar Series inlay of flip-flops © 2010 Andrew McNaughton

Exhibit Statement:

Seven professional artists unite to illustrate the environmental challenges marine ecosystems face due to discarded plastic. In its entirety their work guides the audience to an inescapable vantage point. One from which it is no longer credible to maintain a culpable ignorance of the impacts plastic pollution is having on our oceans as well as the wildlife and human populations dependent on them. In combining these works the viewer’s journey mirrors the path of awareness and responsibility each artist experienced through intimate exposure to this issue.

Taken together, this body of work is transformative, enabling viewers to interpret their own role in the creation of marine pollution. The exhibit integrates in situ observations with artistic innovation, and bridges the boundary in-between. The juxtaposition of powerful images of environmental tragedy alongside artistically styled works that incorporate discarded plastics prompts the viewer to identify creative measures to reduce plastic from ending up in our oceans, rather than being overwhelmed by the challenge. The viewer ultimately shifts from blaming others to taking personal responsibility, engaged with the marine environment and therefore invested in finding solutions to reducing marine pollution sources.

Octoplas - © 2009 Michelle Lougee
The artists participating in this exhibit are:

Over the next few weeks I will write more about these artists (and others that we could not include) and their art. Looking at both how art helps us all interpret our connection to the natural world, in this case the marine environment, and the personal journey of how these artists discovered marine debris. I have started a new blog (click on title below) to focus specifically on these topics called:

Marine debris on Laysan Island, Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument - photo by David Liittschwager © 2004
This project has been supported by: