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A global pandemic of plastic waste has been invading the Earth’s seas and coastlines, accumulating at speed in a shocking short period of time and is now an undeniable blight and a threat to all civilisation.  From fishing nets and used syringes, to water bottles and one time use packages in the form of containers and bags, plastic waste has taken over our natural environment, it is predicted that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in our seas!

Plastic came into heavy manufacture and usage in the early 20th Century due to its low cost, ease of production, versatility and imperviousness to water.  Today everything seems to be made of plastic including the enormous amount of single use packaging products with life spans that often last no more than 10 – 12 minutes before they are tossed away and end up in our landfills.  As they break down into smaller pieces, many of these indestructible plastic pieces find their way into our seas, where their colours and shapes are mistaken for food by wildlife. Once ingested, these plastic pieces cause painful death to our wildlife blocking their digestion or poisoning them due to the toxins inherent in plastic.  

UK artist, Mandy Barker had received world-wide recognition for her photographs, which raise much needed awareness about plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, whilst highlighting the harmful effects the debris has on marine life and ultimately, our civilisation.

“The aim of my work is to engage and stimulate an emotional response in my audiences by combining a contradiction between initial aesthetic attraction along with the subsequent message of awareness. Research is vital to my artistic practise and the images I make are based on scientific fact which is essential to the integrity of my work. The impact of oceanic waste is an area I am committed to pursuing through visual interpretation and in collaboration with science, hoping it will ultimately lead to positive action in tackling this increasing environmental problem which is of current global concern.”

Mandy’s series ‘Beyond Drifting, imperfectly known animals’ was shortlisted for the 2017 Prix Pictet award and has now been made into a book by Overlapse publishing.