Brazil stu­dents make art out of trash plucked off Rio shore

The China Post - - ARTS -

For­get pricey im­ported oil paints and ex­or­bi­tant blocks of mar­ble. Art stu­dents at a Brazil­ian uni­ver­sity have taken ad­van­tage of one ma­te­rial they have in end­less and free sup­ply — trash — to cre­ate an ex­hi­bi­tion that aims to draw at­ten­tion to the fetid state of Rio de Janeiro’s Gua­n­abara Bay, where Olympic sail­ing events are to be held next year.

Around 30 stu­dents at the Rio de Janeiro Fed­eral Uni­ver­sity used plas­tic bot­tles, tires, old flip flops, plas­tic hel­mets, scratched CDs, old tubes and plas­tic su­per­mar­ket bags they plucked off a nearby shore to make sculp­tures of ocean fauna in­clud­ing an oc­to­pus and dol­phins.

The cam­pus, on Fun­dao Is­land in the filthy bay near the in­ter­na­tional air­port, is at the epi­cen­ter of Rio’s pol­lu­tion prob­lem. With poor trash and sewage ser­vices through­out the city of 12 mil­lion peo­ple, Rio’s wa­ter­ways are choked with raw sewage and float­ing garbage. A thick ring of trash sur­rounds much of Fun­dao Is­land, where the stench of raw sewage is of­ten over­pow­er­ing.

“We went out with the stu­dents to col­lect garbage for the project and I was like, ‘Let’s not take more than we need.’ Be­cause there is so much, so much garbage,” said Dalia dos San­tos Cerqueira, a pro­fes­sor of fine arts and co­or­di­na­tor of the ex­hibit. “It was scary to see.”

Fabio Dru­mond, an artist who worked on the ex­hibit, said the project showed how the bay has been trans­formed over the past decades into a wa­tery land­fill.

“Dolls, wood, chairs, tires, tele­vi­sions — ev­ery­thing that doesn’t work any­more gets thrown into the wa­ter,” he said. “It’s be­ing de­stroyed by garbage.”

Rio au­thor­i­ties had pledged to clean up the fetid bay be­fore the 2016 Olympics, when sail­ing events are slated to be held there. But with the games just over a year away, both the mayor and the gover­nor have re­peat­edly said that prom­ise won’t be met. Still, Olympic au­thor­i­ties in­sist the events will be held on the bay de­spite ob­jec­tions of some sailors, who are wor­ried about fall­ing ill from the wa­ter or po­ten­tially cat­a­strophic col­li­sions with float­ing trash.

The art show, called “The Sea’s Not Fit for Fish,” runs through Thurs­day at the uni­ver­sity cam­pus.


(Left) A sculp­ture of a dol­phin with a tire caught around its neck is ex­hib­ited at Rio de Janeiro Fed­eral Uni­ver­sity as part of an ex­hibit ti­tled “The Sea Isn’t Made for Fish,” in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Mon­day, June 1. (Right) A sofa lit­ters Gua­n­abara Bay along with other trash in Rio de Janeiro, Mon­day.

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