As an artist, my work is inspired by visiting sacred sites around the world and connecting with the spirit of place. I honor our ancestors and am enthralled by the symbols they left behind on rock walls and pottery shards. I borrow from a universal language – like the spiral that speaks of renewal and the circle that speaks of wholeness, as well as forms from nature found in cultures around the world. My work comes from a personal place and has a mystical and meditative quality.
I have lived in Mazatlan, Mexico – a little slice of Paradise on the Sea of Cortez- for 17 years. I love walking the beach or down the Malecon – 7 miles of ocean-front sidewalk. But something has disturbed my tranquil walks – more and more plastic – shopping bags, straws, bottles, caps, styrofoam, etc. is in my path. Sadly, my walks have become more of a garbage pick-up excursion. And I have begun to learn more about the bigger problem with plastic in our world via the internet:
- An estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic are currently in the oceans, a third of which is concentrated in the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch – possibly twice the size of the United States!
I am not a political artist, but I do hold Mother Earth sacred, so how can I ignore her call for help? Plastic is one of the biggest threats to our planet clogging our neighborhoods, highways, soil, beaches and oceans. Ocean plastic pollution is killing more than 100,000 marine animals and birds each year. World-wide plastic production is increasing dramatically and every year we produce approximately 300 million tons of plastics. Plastic doesn’t decompose, it never goes away. We humans are negatively affected as the toxic chemicals in plastics are contaminating our bodies by entering our food chain and our water supply.
I decided to take action on the home front and also to take steps to bring the plastic crisis in focus. Here are some things I’ve done:
- Recycle what I use at home and on the streets and beaches (not easy in Mazatlan because there is no city-wide recycling program)
- Refuse plastic bags and straws at shops and stores (In Mexico, they give them out like candy!) “sin popote, por favor”
- Re-use plastic bags, cups, etc that I have acquired
- Take my refillable water bottle with me at home and on my travels
- Created an anti-plastic logo and had some fabric shopping bags made that fold up and fit into a purse or back pocket as give-aways and gifts.
- Started a Facebook page to disperse info found on the internet and to raise awareness to the plastic problem (Campaña-Anti-Plástico-de-Mazatlan)
- Created an informational hand-out to give out in both English and Spanish
- Speak up to vendors, friends, and family to encourage them to also give up single-use plastic
- And most importantly: Curated an International Art Exhibition, Plastic Madness / Locura del Plastico inviting over 25 Mexican and U.S. artists to create artworks from plastic found in their daily paths. This exhibition, with unique and compelling works of art, was shown at the Angela Peralta Gallery in Mazatlan to rave reviews, then at the OMA Galeria at the Mazatlan airport where it was viewed by hundred of visitors. (Many thanks to Dept. of Culture, Mazatlan and Claudia Gallardo, director of OMA Galeria.) The exhibition has now traveled to the U.S. and is currently being exhibited at San Jose City College (thru Nov 27, 2017). In this show, additional California artists were invited to join the Mexican artists uniting artists from these two countries in a common problem. This show was co-curated by Katherine Levin-Lau and Deborah Kennedy. The next scheduled exhibition in the U.S. is Bluseed Studios and Gallery in Saranac Lake, NY in August 2018 where NY artists will be invited to participate. (Carol Marie Vossler will co-curate the NY exhibition). Additionally, a new Plastic Madness exhibition will be organized in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, February 2019.