Of Loss and Finding #10, 2019
Discarded plastic bags
56 x 56 x 245cm
Image: Keith Maxwell
Since I can remember, I have witnessed the loss of habitat to suburban land development. The decimation of forests and wetlands to make way for bitumen, steel and concrete is an inescapable constant.
Every day I yearn for friendly gums and chirpy cicadas. Instead, I’m greeted by the cool mildew cast by the shadow of high rises, the vast expanse of ‘cookie cutter’ suburbia and caustic gas oozing from screeching deathtraps. This grief is known as solastalgia, a trauma associated with the loss of natural environment. Solastalgia is one of the many psychological traumas endured by those living among contemporary nature.
With the loss of natural habitat, it is important to preserve and find nature in the most unsuspecting places; nature strips, construction sites and abandoned buildings. My motivation is to grieve the loss of natural habitat through the medium of contemporary culture – plastic. But also to find solace in the endurance of nature amid destruction.
This plastic is found in parklands, reserves as well as urban areas. I was drawn to plastic for its versatility but also knowing it was a material I could source for free from the environment. The significance of sourcing plastic from the environment reflects how this material is as much a part of contemporary nature as is a shrub or beetle. The plastic is compressed and shaped to resemble marble blocks – a homage to the value placed on plastic.