Shelia Rogers - Oceans of Plastic
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Artist, Shelia Rogers on the Bayfront of Corpus Christi ,Texas

Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.
- Jacques-Yves Cousteau

The heart of my work is environmental advocacy, seductively exposing the real and devastating effects of plastic pollution on the world's oceans. The intent of my work is to raise awareness of this pressing consumer and environmental issue, while motivating viewers toward a plastic-use reduction revolution.

This deep-rooted passion stems from a spiritual rhythm of beachcombing I have exercised for years, where, while collecting shells, I have often contemplated the interconnectedness of our oceans with every living thing. Over the years, I have collected thousands of shells from around the world, as well as from the local bay shore one block from my home. However, in recent years, as plastic material began replacing the shells I once found in abundance on the shore, I found a refinement in the focus of my beachcombing, and an alteration in the direction of my art practice. I became drawn toward documenting the condition of the beaches with their assemblage of plastic debris deposited by the waves. My new spiritual routine became gathering and cleaning the plastic debris, and ultimately making art objects from this material.

In the work, the plastic is sorted by color, secured in large acrylic boxes, and displayed in an arrangement of complimentary colors. From a distance, the beauty of the color-coded organization lures viewers into a fanciful encounter with interesting art pieces. Yet upon closer view, the shocking revelation of single-use plastic trash manifests.

The intent of this interplay is to reveal the deception presented to us by the influential proponents of plastic products, as well as the effects that plastic has, both on the environment, and ourselves. My work not only reveals this disturbing reality, but also records the frightening equation that our production and use of plastic grows in sync with the growth of human population – eventually moving us toward the destruction of our ecosystem.

The effects of this pollution cause irreversible damage. World-wide, over sixty billion tons of plastic are produced each year, the majority of it being single-use items that are thoughtlessly tossed away every day, everywhere. This number becomes even more disturbing when we learn that these "disposable" items are not in fact disposable. "Disposable" refers to an article intended to be thrown away after use. The problem with plastic, however, is this: it doesn't go away. Every article of plastic that has ever been manufactured, used, and discarded still exists in one form or another. This accumulation of plastic refuse is rapidly smothering our land, our oceans, our resources, and endangering marine life. Plastic never dissolves, it never biodegrades. It accumulates, and creates a cascade of destructive effects everywhere it lands.

Through my work, it is my intent to educate viewers about these dangers of plastic in our marine environment. I want to provoke viewers toward a reduction of single-use plastic and toward making small lifestyle changes that reduce the overall amount of plastic waste making its way into our environment. Plastic pollution is a huge problem, but by changing our habits even slightly, we can create a cleaner and more sustainable world. Each one of us will make a difference if we can only be brave enough to be mindful.

                                                                    all images and content copyright © 2015 Shelia Rogers

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