“Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea’’ – the popular conservation exhibit now on display at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and Audubon Zoo – is expanding.
On Thursday, October 11, the Aquarium unveiled nine more of artist Angela Pozzi’s creations, including sculptures of a Rockhopper Penguin named Zorabelle, Steve the Weedy Sea Dragon and Stella the Sea Horse. Another new arrival, Seemore the Sea Lion Pup, has joined Sebastian James the Tufted Puffin on display at Audubon Zoo.
Just like those that arrived earlier, the new additions to the collection feature larger-than-life aquatic animal sculptures crafted from plastic trash collected from Pacific Coast beaches. All the sculptures will be on display at the Aquarium and the Zoo through April 30, 2019.
Pozzi’s exhibit, which Audubon welcomed on July 27, is designed to educate a global audience about the threat that plastic pollution poses for the ecosystems of the world’s oceans and waterways.
Assembled entirely from plastic trash, the sculptures offer visitors a powerful, visual reality of the proliferation of pollution in the world’s waterways through marine animal representations that use thousands of pieces of debris in practically every color of the rainbow.
A close look at the sculptures reveals the myriad of items used to construct the artworks – everything from toothbrushes, a duck decoy, a baby pacifier and a toilet seat to a car bumper, buoys, bleach bottles, bait traps and flip flops.
“I hope that placing these marine debris sculptures near some of the animals affected by this tragedy offers an opportunity for Aquarium visitors to stop and think about how they can make a difference,” said Pozzi, Artistic Director and Lead Artist for the Washed Ashore Project. “Plastics have entered all marine habitats and every level of the ocean food chain and whales, fish, zooplankton and numerous other animals are eating the trash.”
Experts estimate that 80 percent of marine debris comes from land-based sources – streets to streams to rivers to oceans.
Audubon Nature Institute is reducing single-use plastics by phasing out plastic straws from concessions and plastic bags from gift shops. Since 2017, more than 200,000 individual pieces of single-use plastics have been eliminated.
The not-for-profit Washed Ashore Project was created in 2010 after Pozzi witnessed mounds of plastic trash piling up on formerly pristine beaches along her native Oregon coast. She organized all-volunteer cleanups and used the collected trash – washed and sorted – to create massive, realistic sculptures of sea animals most affected by the pollution.
Since the project began, more than 10,000 volunteers have participated, collecting, washing and hand stitching parts of sculptures. More than 42,000 pounds of plastic pollution have been collected from over 300 miles of beaches and turned into more than 70 sculptures that tour the country.
The exhibit is included with a general admission ticket to the Aquarium or the Zoo.
PHOTO: Audubon Nature Institute