Chapman’s Pool is a small cove on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ and a World Heritage Site. The inlet contains evidence of the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, and is not only stunningly beautiful but is also a rich source of fossil material, as evidenced by The Etches Collection, housed in a Museum just down the coast, in Kimmeridge. Access to Chapman’s Pool is accomplished via a twenty-minute hike across several exposed fields and a hair-raising descent over some seriously steep inclines to the bay below. Alternatively, the only other route is via the sea in a small boat. For this reason, it is often deserted at this time of year and is usually quiet during the tourist season. It an inspiring and dramatic location, which motivated this latest work. This new piece, called ‘Floating on the Tears of a Mermaid’, highlights the very real threat of plastic waste washed up on our shores and in particular, Chapman’s Pool.
Most artists and photographers who come here will endeavour to capture the majesty and atmosphere of this unique place but tend to ignore the very real problem which is evident, and that is the damage which plastic and we, are inflicting on our environment. In just two visits enough waste was collected to create this shocking sculpture.
Plastic waste degrades over time to become microscopic sized particles and combined with industrial amounts of plastic granules washed into the sea every day creating a deadly toxic cocktail absorbed by wildlife and fauna. This is rapidly becoming a catastrophic environmental disaster on an apocalyptic scale which we ignore at our peril. The commonly used name for the plastic granules washed up on the beach is Mermaid’s Tears and this prompted the creation of this work.
There is no reason why art should not be used as a means to communicate a very significant message to us all concerning the pollution of our environment. We need to respond now or the damage will be irreversible. It is all very well painting pretty pictures of sunsets over Studland Bay but it is also incredibly naive to ignore the consequences our actions are inflicting on our oceans and coasts as a result of our apathy. Most modern and contemporary art installations and paintings are relatively meaningless anyway, so perhaps it is about time we utilized the powerful subliminal messages art can communicate in a shocking and influential way.
The actions we take now, if any, will affect our children and their children in the immediate and foreseeable future.
So start acting now!