A Doha-based artist has been promoting the value of recycling through artworks made entirely out of discarded plastic bottles and bags in the hope of raising awareness on the negative impact of non-biodegradable waste on the environment.
The work of Indian expatriate Swapna Namboodiri, a board member of the QatArt Handmade Community, is part of her ‘For the Planet’ series, which she started three years ago.
Plastic bags make good use for texture.
The latest theme of 'For the Planet' series is about ocean life, which is being threatened by excessive wastage on plastic products.
According to Namboodiri, a quote on environmental protection that she chanced upon several years ago was unsettling: “Every bit of plastic once made is still lying on the earth’s surface.”
“I felt quite intimidated by this quote. Since then, I made sure that this message is reflected in my artworks. I don't throw plastic bottles, and now I started collecting used bottles from some friends and families.
“These plastic bottles are cleaned, hand cut, and hand painted, and then assembled to become artworks,” Namboodiri told Gulf Times on Friday.
In celebration of Earth Day, Namboodiri said the theme of her latest works reflect marine life.
“Plastic pollution has mainly affected ocean life. I read somewhere that ‘if we treat plastic like this, by 2050, our ocean will be filled with more plastic scraps than fish’. “So, my latest works are based on underwater life. I recycle plastics in whichever way possible for me. Few artworks have plastic bags too for different texture,” she explained.
The painting process for Namboodiri’s artworks involves either solvent-based glass paint or layers of acrylic. Each piece of the texture is individually hand cut and painted on plastic bits. Then it will be assembled onto canvas or on Perspex (solid transparent plastic made of polymethyl methacrylate).
“It takes many hours to create a single artwork, and they vary according to the size and design. I use at least 20 plastic bottles in a week, which would have otherwise ended up as landfill,” she said.
Namboodiri said her works had received some “amazing response” from people. Through a couple of online platforms, her sculptures had been added to several private collections in the US, the UK, and Australia.
“I am glad that people are willing to join and work for a greener planet. I really wish that everyone would pledge to reduce, reuse, and recycle plastics.
“I have been selected to exhibit my latest works in the upcoming Tokyo International Art Fair happening this month. This will be my first international event. After summer, I am planning to exhibit them in Qatar,” she said.