With the growing spotlight on global climate change, depleting resources and the need for renewable energy, many sectors of industry and society have had to shift their focus and rethink their approach to the radically changing standards of our planet. While many disregard global warming as a money-making scheme or myth, (and after the record low temperatures in Europe and North America earlier this year, who can blame them?) it cannot be ignored that finite energy and non-biodegradable matter are becoming a massive problem.
The words ‘reuse’, ‘reduce’ and ‘recycle’ are familiar to the majority of the westernised world in 2014. The importance of these issues has led to the institutionalisation of recycling even on a domestic scale, with there being heavy fines on the incorrect disposal of waste in many countries. There is no doubt that people have change the way they live and companies have to revolutionise the way they run. We have all begun to see Earth in a new light, and are understanding its need for protecting. In a creative twist to the growing global crisis, artists worldwide have come up with innovative and undeniably beautiful ways of recycling and renewing.
Sayaka Ganz, a sculptor from Yokohama, Japan, has responded to the eco-evolution in art by creating stunning, fluid sculptures of animals with used plastic waste. Ganz’s inspiration for these artworks stem from the Japanese Shinto philosophy that all things have a spirit, as well as sympathy for discarded objects. She aims to create living artwork with value because, as she explains, “if we value our resources, we will waste less”. Among other installations, she recently created an exhibit about marine animals and the fragile ecosystems that exist in the ocean. Take a look at her other work here
Speaking of the world below the depths, an interesting project spurring from the desire to protect the open water is underway by English artist, Jason DeCaires Taylor. Overfishing, oil spills and harmful waste in the ocean threaten the stability and sustainability of its wildlife and delicate ecosystems. Taylor is especially concerned with over-visited and destroyed coral reefs. In response, he began creating artificial reefs out of pH-suitable and stable materials that actually attract micro-organisms and ocean life. His reefs are comprised of hundreds of sculptures of human beings that, over time, become layered with coral and marine foliage. Taylor’s artificial reefs are both beautiful and an ingenious response to the ocean’s need for safe shelter and breeding-grounds. Click here to see how he is saving our fish.
This response to our struggling planet isn’t just happening abroad, however. South African artist, Mbongeni Buthelezi has created a name for himself both locally and internationally with his work. His reply to the waste crisis is what has been called, “painting with plastic”. He makes stunning, colourful “paintings” of predominantly township scenes, using non-biodegradable plastic as his medium. It is inspirational to see a South African taking initiative to make a change through his work, and perhaps we should all be doing the same.
Here’s a nifty way of getting started:
If you are an artist and interested in how you can help save the planet with your work, check out this article by Diana Moses Botkin. It explains twelve useful and easy tips on how to reduce your footprint and reuse materials in your eco-friendly masterpieces.