(SPOT.ph) At this point, most of us have already heard (and hopefully, are taking steps to help change the fact) that the Philippines is the "third-worst polluter into the world's oceans." You'd think that as a country surrounded by water, and highly dependent on intricate river systems and river basins, we'd be more conscious when it comes to managing our waste. Sadly, that's not the case. This reality is what often inspires French-Filipino artist Olivia d'Aboville's art; and for Art Fair Philippines 2019 on February 22 at The Link in Makati, she's hoping to shine a light on the issue of plastic pollution.
From Chasm of Fantasies to Everything, Everywhere, Everyone
"For the art fair, I wanted to go back to [Chasm of Fantasies] because I think the issue is so crucial," the 32-year-old says in an interview with SPOT.ph.
Chasm of Fantasies, which opened in July 2010 at Ayala Museum in Makati, was her first solo show after returning from France. It featured mass-produced objects—from plastic spoons to disposable water bottles—put together to look like marine creatures. Its accompanying exhibition catalogue titled New Frontiers: Olivia d'Aboville, which was made in collaboration with Neal Oshima, offered a different kind of visual experience through the veteran photographer's use of strobes and ultraviolet lights. Eight years later, her love for the ocean, and her drive to help keep it clean, is as strong as ever, and she saw Art Fair Philippines as a timely platform to send her message.
"Everyone's talking about climate change's effect on the environment. If feels like an abstract phenomenon because we can't see it day to day, except when there's a big calamity or natural disaster. But plastic pollution, especially in the ocean, is something that's very visible and it's related to climate change. So in that sense, people are more drawn to it because they see it. It's a good platform to address this message again because when I did [Chasm of Fantasies], we weren't really talking yet about being mindful of our plastic usage," the artist points out.
"I was thinking of something along the lines of Everything, Everywhere, Everyone," she says about the title for the show—signaling how plastic pollution is affecting everything, everywhere, and everyone.
But unlike Chasm, which was very poetic, her upcoming show is "more literal, more 'in your face'" with pieces mostly made up of trash. Her central work is a 185-meter by two-meter fishnet—from her pile of nets bought in 2010—sewn with strips of trash. You might see remnants from packs of your favorite snacks, shampoo sachets, and other single-use plastics sewn directly onto the nylon. "I was thinking of something along the lines of Everything, Everywhere, Everyone," she says about the title for the show—signaling how plastic pollution is affecting everything, everywhere, and everyone.
Another work-in-progress is a square-shaped canvas sewn with small squares of trash grouped by color. "This will be a mosaic of plastic bits. Plastic has no value, but using it this way and stitching is a very tedious process. That's how I inject the value in the work," d'Aboville explains about her ongoing work.