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The Plastic Sea Art Project

14 June 2018


Professional artists often use their work to comment on a subject or situation and in doing so not only highlight a crisis or injustice but also expose their art to a wider audience. This term the 3rd Form have produced work based on plastic, specifically the terrible and ongoing problem of plastic waste contaminating the planet’s oceans.

They began the project at the beginning of term and soon became aware that it was very topical, as more and more items about the problem appeared in the media. As a result of their discussions and research done in lessons, the boys were shocked at the size and extent of the problem. Scientists have shown that up to 12 million tonnes of plastic is entering the oceans every year and 80% comes from land sites; it simply gets blown and washed away, into the sea.

In response, each boy spent the first half of term creating a “Plastic Windsock Fish” (these are now displayed in the school’s courtyard). Much of the plastic in the sea, blown there by the wind from landfill, is mistaken by fish, dolphins and whales for food (it is uncanny how jellyfish look like a plastic carrier bag underwater) which they eat, sadly, causing them to die prematurely. Fittingly, the boys created their fish-shaped windsocks from plastic carrier bags and water bottles, which they collected from their domestic waste at home. As the plastic windsock fish “swim” in the breeze, they make a sound that is eerily reminiscent of the sea. The irony of this artwork is poignant.

The boys are now working on two group pieces. The first, called “Message in a Bottle”, is a collaboration with the English Department. The boys have written letters to important people of their choice, pointing out the terrible state the world’s oceans are in, because of the plastic crisis, and ask that something should be done about it. These letters will be rolled up and put into empty plastic bottles which will, in turn, be joined together to form the shape of a huge bottle and collective message. The second is inspired by Hokusai’s masterpiece The Great Wave.

We would like to thank all the 3rd Form parents for their support in collecting and sending in their used plastic bottles and carrier bags. Hopefully, by the end of term, the boys will have put them to good use.

Sue Williams


Plastic Sea Art Project