Published in The Monitor by Sept. 11, 2013
Collections of plastic items found along the beaches in and around Corpus Christi are among many pieces of art featured at the Historic Brownsville Museum. Discarded fishing filament collected by Girl Scouts was assembled into a sculpture over 12 feet high. “Oceans of Plastic” will open Friday at 6:30 p.m. The beach litter-turned-art is a collection of thousands of pieces of discarded plastic that washed ashore. Corpus Christi artist Sheila Rogers created the collection of art.
“My intent with my artwork is to raise awareness of one of the most pressing consumer and environmental issues that we face, plastic pollution. The effects of this pollution cause irreversible damage to our ecosystem, which in turn affects our health and well-being,” Corpus Christi artist Sheila Rogers wrote in her artist statement. “Over sixty-billion tons of plastic are produced in the world each year, the majority of this material being single-use items that are thoughtlessly tossed away every day, everywhere.”
Rogers’ colorful artwork seen at a distance shows beautifully patterned designs with rich color, but as the viewer draws closer they are confronted with plastic bottle caps, discarded lighters, plastic caps from various household products, cassette tapes and even syringes.
The show opens Friday afternoon at the Historic Brownsville Museum and executive director Maribel Guerrero said she hopes children will be brought to the show.
“I definitely think this is a great exhibit for children,” she said. “You know, for them to understand the impact that pollution has on the environment, but that you can also put it to a good use.”
Guerrero said Rogers’ art could be described as activist art because each piece demonstrates that the world’s oceans are full of plastic trash.
“She’s just taking what she finds and showing it to us as art. And she does have an interest in the environment. I definitely would call this activist art because she’s trying to draw awareness to a real problem,” Guerrero said.
There are several framed boxes that Rogers has filled with red, yellow and blue plastic trash, among other colors. The pieces are striking because of the richness of color, but also because as the viewer draws closer they realize that this art is made of plastic that washed up onto beaches.
“They call us the throw-away society because everything is so easy for us nowadays, just open it and throw it away,” Guerrero said. “There’s really no sense of responsibility.”
And attendees will have a chance to hear Rogers talk about her art at the opening.
In her artist statement, Rogers expresses that she is disturbed at the amount of plastic trash in the world’s ocean and that as the world’s population grows, so will the amount of plastic trash in the oceans.
“It is my intent to educate viewers about the dangers of plastic in our marine environment. I want to motivate them to advocate for a reduction of single-use plastic and make small lifestyle changes that reduce the amount of waste we are putting into our environment.
“Plastic pollution is a huge problem, but by changing our habits, we can create a cleaner and more sustainable world. Each one of us can make a difference,” Rogers wrote.
For more information about Friday’s opening, call the Historic Brownsville Museum at (956) 548-1313.