Plastics

THE PLAGUE OF OCEAN PLASTIC POLLUTION

Plastic in oceans is expected to outweigh fish by 2050. Oceana is actively working to stop this—but we need your help.

Recycling alone is not enough to solve the plastics crisis—we must reduce the amount of single-use plastic being produced and discarded. Your support helps us engage companies to adopt ocean-friendly alternatives.

We hope you’ll join us at SeaChange—together we’ll combat the plague of ocean plastic.

2019 FEATURED ARTISTS

DAFNE MURILLO

Dafne Murillo is a senior undergraduate student at Columbia University, majoring in Economics and Latin American Studies. Originally from Lima, Perú, and with roots in San Martin, located in the Amazon region, she’s the co-founder of Tarpuy Warmi, an NGO that serves high school aged girls in the Peruvian Amazon. In college, Dafne served as the Co-President of the Columbia Univeristy Student Organization of Latinxs and volunteers with UndoCU, an undocumented support group that provides college application clinics for undocumented youth in the NYC area. Dafne is currently writing a senior thesis researching the effect of legislation on the wages of undocumented domestic workers and hopes to continue her education, pursuing a Ph.D. in Economics after graduation. Her academic interests include Latin America, sustainable development, and immigration, looking at the intersection of poverty, climate change and forced-displacement of vulnerable populations in the global south. Her most recent art-work is a collaborative zine focusing on the Central American asylum crisis. In her free time, Dafne enjoys reading poetry, discussing Peruvian food, and doodling in her sketchbook. You can find her at @dafmurillo (Twitter) and @daf.murillo.lopez (Instagram).

For many people in the coastal region of Peru, being able to see a humpback whale is not a rare occurrence, and has created a lucrative eco-tourism industry. Ironically, Peruvian beaches are some of the most polluted in the world. I’ve been involved in two annual beach cleanup projects and I’ve been stunned by the countless bottles and plastic bags that are spread across the shoreline of Lima alone. This inspired my piece. My art is my version of the iceberg metaphor: people can only see the portion above the surface but are oblivious of the portion undersea. I feel this is the case in Peru (as in many other countries). People can appreciate the whales, yet fail to realize that by continuing littering the sea with their plastic waste, they are responsible for the harm of marine wildlife through ingestion or entanglement.

EMILY MILLER

Emily Miller is a lifelong artist with a passion for materials, from watercolor painting to mixed media sculpture and installations often intended for interaction and play. Emily’s tactile, organic sculptures are inspired by ocean life and the cycles of nature, with a focus on conservation and reclaimed materials. Currently based in Portland, Oregon, Emily’s work draws inspiration from the rich natural setting of the Pacific Northwest, along with her background in California, Kauai, and Down East Maine. Emily shares her process and inspiration on Instagram at @ejmillerfineart, and her complete portfolio of artwork is available at www.ejmillerfineart.com.

Artist Statement: I have spent my life on the coast, and all my artwork has its roots in my love of the sea. I see our coasts as a border between the known and unknown, amid constant cycles of change. My work explores these transition environments to illuminate our vital connection to the systems of the natural world.

Since 2015, I have created machine-stitched baskets from “ghost net” fishing rope, washed up on the shores of Oregon, Kauai, and Maine. The process begins with days spent hauling this colorful rope from the tideline, connecting and collecting with other beach clean-up crews. The knotted ropes are slowly untangled into separate pieces, then each length of rope is unraveled into three segments. Cleaned, untangled, and unraveled, the material is now ready to be stitched into baskets on my vintage sewing machine. Each length of rope tells its own unique story about the effects of coastal industry on local and global scales, from freshly cut potwarp lines at local fisheries, to wild and eroded flotsam weathered by months or years at sea.

Ghost net is one of the most abundant and dangerous sources of marine debris in our oceans. This lost or abandoned fishing gear makes up 46% of the mass in the northern Pacific Ocean, where it entangles wildlife and disintegrates into microplastics, affecting every level of the food web and marine ecosystem.

In 2018, I gathered rope from a massive environment created from two tons of ghost net, hauled off Kauai’s beaches in just two months. This experience directly inspired my Ghost Net Landscape project: an interactive art installation and performance with 1,000 pounds of reclaimed fishing rope and net. Visitors become collaborators as we work together daily in the gallery, transforming this material into artwork. Learn more about this ongoing project at www.ghostnetart.com.

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