For centuries, art has been used to shape and influence our consciousness. Works of art have the uncanny ability to direct our attention to issues and questions that may have never even been in our minds before. Naturally, environmental issues and an artist’s take on them have been the subject of countless artworks – and many times, the medium the artist chooses to make these thought-provoking works recall their eco-message.
Trash Animals is a series of artworks created by Bordalo II, an artist born in Lisbon. “I create, recreate, assemble and develop ideas with end-of-life material and try to relate it to sustainability, ecological and social awareness,” he writes on his website – and Trash Animals is the perfect sample of this fascinating mode of creating.
The series’s goal is to draw attention to the current crisis of waste production and its effects on the planet.
The idea is simple but powerful – it is “to depict nature itself, in this case, animals, out of materials that are responsible for its destruction.”
Most of the materials used are so-called “end-of-life” materials found in wastelands, abandoned factories, or at random, while some others are obtained from companies going through a recycling process.
At first sight, the materials make up a cohesive whole, but that vision quickly disintegrates. We then notice the many different objects that the work was made from – like tires, bumpers, old appliances, bicycle wheels, and a whole array of other discarded things.
These sculptures are just impossible to walk past without at least slowing down and looking up.
Hopefully, nobody misses the point of their peculiar assorted make-up either.
The problem of pollution is one we can sometimes forget about quite easily – ultimately, we do not see the Great Pacific Garbage Patch on the news every day, nor do we all live with a view onto a landfill from our window. And since the outcome of our actions is usually so far away from us, taking action to stop it does not seem all that dire. But dire it is, whether we see it with our own eyes or not. This is why projects, actions, and artworks aiming to wake us up from our comfortable stupor and remind us about the reality of the situation – any situation, really – are indispensable to making a change. After all, to do something about a problem, we need to first realize it is there – and it is not going anywhere.
If you’re interested in learning about how you can lower your personal footprint, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign.
To learn more about the artist and his work, click here.
All image source: Bordalo II