THE ENVIRONMENT AND CULTURE – THE DEATH OF PLASTIC

An installation by Geraldine Robarts

“We cannot segregate the human heart from the environment outside us and say that once one of these is reformed everything will be improved. Man is organic with the world. His inner life molds the environment and is itself deeply affected by it. The one acts upon the other and every abiding change in the life of man is the result of these mutual reactions.”

From the Bahá’í Teachings (quoted in Al Gore, Earth in the Balance, pp. 261-262)

 

How it all began…

by Geraldine Robarts

“There is a purpose in a world of chance”, Dr.Henry Foy once said to me.

In a recent absence from our property our whole log store burnt down – 3 tonnes of very dry logs. Standing next to the store were plastic waste bins, which melted spectacularly into exciting shapes. I found them partially covered in soil. What an opportunity to create works of art by capturing that chance event!

Based on that chance, I created this exhibition of both paintings and sculptures.

From the burnt mabati roof of the store come stunning paintings. There is also a lovely painting in white showing climate change.

As a lecturer I used to tell my students to look under their feet and see what they can make with whatever they may find.

A lot of great art has been made out of “Found” objects. One of my Fine Art students was sitting in a field in rural Kenya wondering what he could do to support his family. By chance there was a cow horn near him. He picked it up and thought what could be done with it. By the following month he had started a whole cottage industry out of objects made from cow horns.

Our ancestors had no plastic, and they found re-usable ways to do everything and would have been horrified at throwing so much away.

How wonderful that Kenya has banned plastic bags as a start to eliminating all single-use plastic.

Technology is also going to have to find lots of answers to ceasing to emit carbon dioxide. What will we do when we have to stop flying around in aeroplanes? How quickly can we move to electric transport using power generated from solar radiation? How can we change from eating lots of beef all the time to a mainly plant-based diet? How can everything electrical be run from solar power?

This exhibition conveys a sense of hope as well as a sense of caution to the future of humanity. It expresses the universality of the artist’s concerns as well as using chance resulting in new 3D art forms which are tactile in nature and expressive in spirit.

The only thing we can control is how each of us lives our life.

It would be wonderful if we could all plant more trees to control carbon dioxide, create green spaces for people to enjoy and feel more creative and boost our culture, encourage green urbanisation and attract more tourism.

I hope the power of art can make the world more peaceful.


Read more about Geraldine Robarts

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