Artsy Abroad: The Plastic Elephant in the Room & Art in Bali Now

Something is in the air in Bali. As I was interviewing a long string of artists during my writing residency there, one topic that kept coming up was plastic and the environment. Several of the artists I met and interviewed brought it up specifically, while many others merely danced around the subject and spoke of the environment more vaguely.

As time went on during my month’s stay, common themes and unifying strings clearly started to emerge between various artists and their work. But plastic and its place in our environment and culture was a big theme that I truthfully didn’t see coming. I consider myself an environmentalist (beginning with my dad’s teaching the Boy Scout rule to always leave your campsite [or hiking trail] cleaner than you found it, and leading all the way to my co-founding a residence hall recycling program at my university), so it wasn’t something I was unaware of or blind to, but I simply wasn’t expecting it.

Many of the artists I met in Bali brought up the problems of plastic degradation in a plethora of ways – from painter Federico Tomasi’s aside about the rainwater run-off flooding the ocean with plastic from one-time-use packaging to Made Aswino Aji’s laments about the changing landscape of Bali with its tourist growth. Or, in Ketut Jaya Kaprus’ plans to feature an entire gallery exhibit about the dangers of plastic, while showcasing its redemptive and transformative power as art.

Read the rest here at The Artsy Forager.

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