Inspiring thought and change is a goal for many artists, but few have managed to do it so well, or so quickly recycling phenom Alejandro Durán. The Washed Up sculpture and photograph series is not just provoking conversation and thought… it’s actually helping to clean up the Sian Ka’an Biosphere in the Mexican Caribbean south of Cancun and the Riviera Maya by utilizing the discarded trash that washes up on its shores. The site-specific installations he makes are put in place and then photographed to be shown elsewhere.
Art in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere
During the course of this series Durán has traced the plastics and trash used to fifty-three nations across six continents, and this figure is rising. All of this has found its way, somehow, to the federally protected reserve of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere; a UNESCO World Heritage site and undeveloped area. So you see… no area is safe from the impacts of expansion and urbanisation.
Durán makes his sculptures into shapes which imitate nature; algae, and waves for example. These sculptures, made of color-coordinated bits of flotsam which have washed up are beautiful at first glance, but speak of the horrifying predicament faced by the World’s Oceans. The disposable lifestyles we lead now are causing the waters of the world to be filled with disposed plastics.
This photo-series is aimed at highlighting the problems that modern consumerism is storing up for itself. Almost no area of the world is now safe from the effects of this lifestyle, as you may have gathered, and the situation is becoming serious. The Washed Up project in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere is not just about good art… it’s about altering the landscape for the better rather than worse for a change, and it’s about our relationship with the things we create and consume. It’s aim, ideally, is to change the way we think about the things we buy, make, and dispose of in a different way.
If you wish to, you can learn more about Alejandro Durán’s Washed Up project by visiting his official website: http://www.alejandroduran.com/