The Evolution of Big Trash Animals by Bordalo ii, 2022

The Big Trash Animals series is an impressive artwork by Bordalo ii, featuring a collection of magnificent creatures made entirely from trash. The artist primarily uses plastic to construct these sculptures to raise awareness about the negative effects of waste production, pollution and how it harms wildlife.

Although the first synthetic plastic, Bakelite, was invented in 1907, the plastic industry underwent an unprecedented expansion in the 1950s. In the following 70 years, the production of plastics increased by almost 230 times, reaching a shocking 460 million tonnes in 2019. Since the 1950s, the world has generated 9.5 billion tonnes of plastic, and only 9% of the 5800 million tonnes of primary plastic no longer in use have been recycled. Consequently, plastic waste is found in landfills, incinerated, or the ocean, posing a significant threat to our environment and wildlife.

Bordalo ii’s Big Trash Animals are particularly vulnerable to the waste they represent because the very materials used to create the sculptures pose a threat to their existence. The artist’s work serves as a poignant reminder of the necessity to address plastic waste and its impact on our planet.

Plastic debris can harm wildlife in three main ways. Entanglement occurs when marine animals get trapped, encircled, or constricted by plastic waste, leading to injuries, suffocation, and even death. Ingestion happens when creatures unintentionally swallow plastic, intentionally consume it, or indirectly consume it by eating prey species that contain plastic. This can cause blockages, internal injuries, and starvation. Interaction refers to collisions, obstructions, abrasions, or using plastic as a substrate, which can interfere with an animal’s ability to move, breathe, or feed.

The first part of The Big Trash Animals series focuses on the Neutral subseries, where the artist uses waste materials and paint to give the sculptures a realistic appearance. Recently, Bordalo ii created the Big Trash Hawk in Portugal, following the original neutral style of the series, which serves as a testament to his commitment to raising awareness about the impact of plastic waste on our environment and wildlife.

The Big Trash Animals collection has undergone a remarkable transformation, with the Neutral subseries being succeeded by Half Half, which now prevails in the artist’s body of work. In this subseries, one side of the animal appears authentic and devoid of any embellishment, while the other side is abstract and fashioned entirely from raw, unpainted waste materials. The Half Half subseries is a powerful statement that exposes the harmful impact of waste on our wildlife and serves as a poignant reminder of the disturbing rise in waste generation over the years.

Continuing the series that commenced with Neutral and Half Half, the Plastic Animals collection unveiled its true colours by shedding all camouflage. The raw materials used to create these pieces are plastics and other discarded materials, serving as a poignant reminder of the devastating impact waste pollution has on our planet. This subseries carries a powerful message about the extinction of some of our species and the urgent need for change.

The objective of the artist who created the Big Trash Animals collection is to foster an emotional bond between the spectators and the artworks, prompting an inner reflection about our conduct and customs and ultimately motivating positive transformation and advancement.

Photo Credit Trash King Bordalo ii



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