Swale Friends of the Earth

An Exhibition – Kent Artists response to the Climate Emergency – Sioux’s Entry

Title – Found on a metre of the Ash path while walking the dog in Teynham on a day in August 2020
Size – 36cm x 46cm. Recycled Frame. Recycled Aluminium, Acrylic paint.
Sale price – £73.24p

The Ash Path is footpath ZR247 and runs from the London Road (A2) to Orchard View in Teynham. It is a straight pathway approx 1mtr wide and 191mtrs long with litter/dog bins at both ends. And it is always littered. But when the nettles grow you can’t see the litter. Its nature’s way of hiding the ugliness we create.  If left these cans will break down in approx. 400yrs. The earth will naturally and slowly reclaim the rubbish we leave polluting our earth with poisonous chemicals and gases adding to the problem of Climate Change.
We cannot continue with our current life styles and choices. Aluminium is 100% recyclable and these cans can be recycled and back on the shelves within 6 weeks. Recycling only uses 5% of the initial production energy and resources to produce plus 75% of all aluminium is still in use today thanks to recycling. The initial mining and refining of Bauxite in the making of aluminium is extremely energy intensive and harmful to the environment. The majority of bauxite is surface mined. This requires stripping everything off the surface of the land, to reveal the red bauxite earth. Creating deforestation and land erosion. Our planets earthly materials are dwindling fast, we are using up its resources faster than they can be replaced. This is the cycle of resources, manufacturing and waste. The dilemma we face.

These cans were found on the first metre of the pathway, just a small sample of what is really there. I bought them home, stapled them to a piece of board. I painted the cans green – in acrylic paints – nice plastic paint. I like green but it was also the colour associated with nature- the very nature that these items are destroying. I then framed the whole piece. Framing a piece of Art creates a boundary for the viewer – creates the illusion that it is separate that it can be viewed on its own merit. Please take a moment to think about all the materials and processes I used to produce this piece of rubbish art or art that is rubbish. I have taken them out of the system and made them special. I have made them into art where they will remain until I say they are rubbish and chuck’em away.

I am questioning our need to have stuff. As artists we make stuff. So, are we adding to the problem? Can we use our skills differently? Can use our skills to highlight issues that affect our surroundings and our earth? Can we change how people see things? Is that the purpose of art?

These cans are a reminder that we all need to change. To maybe buy less, use less, think about our decisions on how we use stuff and how we buy and throw away our stuff!
Reduce, repurpose and recycle more. Everything we do and produce has an impact.

Climate Change is an enormously big, complicated and worrying subject.

I hope these 9 cans can make a difference to your thinking.

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