HOLLYWOOD, Florida. – Hollywood resident Manon Weise is on a mission to inspire and educate the masses by creating art from trash to show us all what we are doing for our planet.
“There’s so much on our beaches that people don’t realize, because they don’t see it,” Weise said. “So our sculptures show what is happening on our beaches.”
A series of 10 works are currently exhibited in Flamingo Gardens in Davieall made from scraps Weise found in Hollywood Beach and made by her husband, Kurt.
“The Mahi Mahi was created with colored plastics that he cut out of buckets, containers that we found on the beach,” Weise said. “The eyes are actually two plastic spoons.”
The idea for the Mahi came after Weise collaborated with the Broward Surfrider Foundation for the 2018 Hollywood Candy Cane Parade, to make a float entirely from beach trash.
“We won for most unique (parade float), but it raised awareness, people couldn’t believe we found all of this on our local beach,” Weise said.
Thus was born Free Our Seas and Beyond, a nonprofit created by Weise to tackle a problem that grew more pervasive by the day.
“I was walking on the beach, I kept seeing trash, trash, trash everywhere,” Weise said. “And I was like, ‘What can I do with this, because no one is recycling.’ And I thought there’s no better way to educate the public than through the arts and it’s about the visual, seeing it and knowing that this stuff exists.
A pelican sculpture was made to show how carelessly discarded fishing gear kills seabirds, a manta ray stuffed with ocean plastic like many in real life, and a Florida alligator illustrating the impact of human waste on Everglades wildlife.
“The alligator was created out of garbage cans, oil can lids, the wheels of a Tonka toy and toothbrushes, that’s what we made our teeth out of,” she said. declared.
One of their most breathtaking creations is a large grouper made up of 200 flip flops.
“It’s on our beaches, not flip flops that someone left, but flip flops that came from the ocean, from a Gulfstream that brought them,” Weise said. “Sometimes I find five to ten flip flops a day. Not pairs, just one. They are made of rubber. They are not biodegradable.
And it’s not all that plastic the world keeps producing either. Less than nine percent of all the plastic in the world is actually recycled, meaning what hasn’t been incinerated is still on our planet in some form.
“Recycling doesn’t happen,” Weise said. “People think so, but it’s not. So we use our art as a way to spread the word and also to reuse it because it won’t be recycled.
Weise’s message is not subtle: let’s reduce our waste before it’s too late.
“The future here is our children, and they won’t have a clean planet if we don’t start making the change here,” she said.
Our species is already beginning to disappear. An installation of the critically endangered vaquita was launched two years ago when there were 17 left on the planet.
So far there are only 10.
“They could be gone in a year, and that’s detrimental to our environment because everything is interconnected,” Weise said. “So once they’re gone, what happens next?”
Weise was recently joined by reinforcements, an army of volunteers converging on the Marine Environmental Education Center in Hollywood to clean up the beach and collect trash and trash that will no doubt inspire future work.
It is a sad fact that unfortunately there is never a shortage of materials.
“Honestly, I wish there were no plastic so I wouldn’t have to do this, but I love our planet, I love Hollywood,” Weise said. “I really want to raise awareness about the pollution that’s happening right now.”
Installation of Free Our Seas and Beyond at Flamingo Gardens runs until the fifth of September.
For more information about Free Our Seas and Beyond, including how to donate, Click here.
Also check out Free Our Seas and Beyond on Instagram.
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