A word from the Artist.......
"For my art and environment project, I investigated our coastal landscape and documented the pollution of our beaches from flotsam and jetsam to general household rubbish washed ashore or left behind by visitors to our beaches. I covered the area from Benvoy to Portally Cove encompassing various beaches along the way. (Benvoy kilfarrasy, Tramore, Ballymacaw, Portally Cove). I photographed and collected ‘found objects’ along the shoreline and brought them back to the studio in college. Back in the studio, I constructed a series of ‘masks’ almost human in form and returned to the beach where I re-installed them as sculptural pieces gazing back in from the ocean in a satirical response to the pollution of our coastline.
This site-responsive intervention initially obscures the seriousness of the subject matter with their fun and innocent appearance. On closer observation these ‘creatures’ or ‘intruders on our shoreline’ tackle the issues of pollution and how our marine life is being threatened by our toxic waste and non-perishable objects found in abundance on our picturesque beaches.
After photographing the sculptures on location all items were then removed to be recycled or disposed of in an appropriate manner. A series of photographs from my initial exploration of the beaches to making an informed response to each location will hopefully point to changes in human behaviour in relation to our environment and how we can help sustain its whole eco-system by becoming more aware of what we leave behind on our next visit to the beach. In researching marine environment, I researched the detrimental effect plastic waste has on our marine life and birds alike. Most plastic lasts forever and is subsequently ingested by our larger mammals out at sea. I investigated masks and their meaning throughout history not forgetting Picasso who was also inspired by African tribal masks. This research led to the origins of the totem pole and its meaning. My sculptures resemble these on many levels. I came across ‘Shame Poles’, used in Alaska to this day for public ridicule to shame individuals for unpaid debts and other such crimes to society."
By Mags Keane, B.A (Hons) Visual Art, Waterford Institute of Technology, College Street Campus, Cork Rd, Waterford.