A smashed water bottle, a broken doll, a purple comb. While artists have long selected unusual objects to create masterpieces, one photographer hopes his new collection of odd items will promote ocean conservation.
Artist Jeremy McKane’s exhibit Found—on display at Level Gallery in Dallas—is filled with sculptures and printed images of discarded items he discovered in oceans and on beaches.
“I was irritated that there was plastic in the ocean and would think to myself that I had lost hope in humanity. I mean, we are ruining the Earth,” McKane wrote of the impetus for this project in an email to TakePart. “I remember thinking that someone should do something about this, and it hadn’t clicked that I was an artist and that I had a voice to make a difference.”
Between 15 trillion and 51 trillion pieces of plastic are floating around in the world’s oceans, threatening marine animals that often consume the trash or become entangled in debris.
While you’re likely to see abandoned soda cans and food wrappers on most shorelines, McKane traveled to one of the most polluted beaches in America for his project. Hawaii’s Kamilo Beach is located near the southern edge of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, one of the world’s five giant concentrations of marine rubbish. Waste that originated thousands of miles away can get trapped in this vortex for long periods of time, and heavy winds can end up pushing it ashore.
Many of the pieces in the Found exhibit date back decades, emphasizing the lasting impact of trashed items on the world’s oceans.