Antonio Maya: Wash Away Waste

Antonio Maya

Hello, my name is Antonio Maya, and this is my portfolio on environmental sculptures called Wash away Waste. I will be using Attribution CC BY-SA 4.0 for licensing. Throughout this portfolio I will be looking at some sculptures done by Teignmouth Recycled Art in the Landscape, Artur Bordalo, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium in partnership with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. All of these artists produced environmental sculptures following the genre of protecting our environment and doing our best to stop climate change. I hope that this portfolio will encourage you to live a more environmentally friendly life.

I found that two themes really stood out to me when taking a look at all three of the sculptures. That is that they all follow the theme of the need to eliminate or reuse trash, and the need to protect animals and their habitats. This is a very important theme because waste and pollution created by people is causing climate change which in turn is causing the death of lots of animals. Whether it be affecting politics or causing glaciers to melt, climate change is everywhere and it’s happening fast. We as humans have to do our best to eliminate waste so that we don’t destroy habitats and endanger species. The sculptures in this portfolio all promote eliminating waste and protecting animals.

“Guaxinão” By Artur Bordalo. image is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The first sculpture that I would like to talk about Is the one presented above called Guaxinão meaning big raccoon in Portuguese. This sculpture was created by a Portuguese street artist named Artur Bordalo in 2015 and is currently on display on the side of Centro Cultural de Belém. This one like many others that he has done is made of trash. It was created to elaborate on the issues of waste production and its effect on the planet. This is a theme that follows all of the sculptures by Artur Bordalo. In the past he has done other animals such as a polar bear or a manatee which are endangered species, but in this case the creature that it portrays is a Raccoon, which are known to pick through dumpsters looking for food. In my opinion the fact that the sculpture is a raccoon encourages people to think about new ways to reuse their trash to help eliminate waste.

“Blue Whale” by Monterey Bay Aquarium in partnership with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Image licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The sculpture seen above is the next one I would like to talk about. It is an eighty-two-foot, life sized blue whale located in Crissy Field, San Francisco. It was made by Monterey Bay Aquarium in partnership with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 2018, The lead artists were Yustina Salnikova and Jol Dean StockDill as a part of the Art in The Parks Program, and it was made to bring attention to the amount of waste brought into the ocean. Every nine minutes 300,000 pounds of plastic are dumped into the ocean which is roughly the same weight as an adult blue whale, the largest mammal to ever exist. This piece of art helps people visualize the amount of plastic that is polluting the oceans and killing off creatures such as the endangered blue whale. Also, this sculpture celebrates the great creatures that lie in the ocean which in turn helps the audience visualize that pollution is not only affecting the little fish and creatures at the bottom of the food chain, but it’s also running the lives of these big magnificent creatures that live in the same ecosystems.

“Chair Backed Turtle” by Teignmouth Recycled Art in the Landscape. Image is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The last sculpture that I want to take a look at is one done by the Teignmouth Recycled Art in the Landscape which is a volunteer organization that’s led by artists. They are known for bringing awareness to environmental issues with education and art. They started in 2005, and have been giving artists, schools, and community groups the chance to create and display their art since. This sculpture is called The Chair Backed Turtle, it is located in Teignmouth Seafront and was finished in 2018.  It is made purely of items that cannot be recycled and would therefore end up in a landfill causing pollution. It’s meant to bring attention to the household items that end up causing harm to the environment and wildlife. It specifically references the endangerment of the sea turtles who are struggling to survive because of the pollution and trash that humans are dumping in the ocean. In the future, if we don’t find a solution to our trash problem, Sea turtles could go extinct and the sculpture could bring attention to how the trash that humans create brought an end to a whole species and serve as a reminder that climate change is very real and our actions can have serious consequences.

Overall environmental sculptures are very important for the protection of environment. They help regular people understand the effects of their trash by giving them a way to visualize it in a tangible environment. This then sparks a person’s internal conversation on how they could maybe eliminate some of the waste they produce. I also feel environmental sculptures are important because they can be more easily understood compared to other forms of art like dance or paintings because it is tangible and in your face. Sculptures are also the prefect for drawing awareness because they can be very large, and visually enticing which makes it the best vehicle for delivering the environmental message.



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Antonio Maya: Wash Away Waste Copyright © by Antonio Maya is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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