eXXpedition - Making the Unseen Seen through Art.
Plastic. It wasn't really the best idea anyone has ever had, was it? I mean, I know it's handy and all that, but it seems to hang around for longer than you'd like. And not only does it cause problems that are easy for us to see, it causes problems that are not quite so obvious as well.
Here are some things you might have seen (particularly if you've just watched the video):
And here are some things you might not have seen:
Teeny tiny bits of plastic, that hang around in the environment for years and years and years, and get ingested and incorporated into the tissues of a whole bunch of organisms, and, ultimately, us. At present no one really knows just how dangerous microplastics are, but I'm thinking they probably aren't great.
What I want to do about it:
I'm hoping to join eXXpedition in March next year and sail the Caribbean to learn about, and raise awareness of, plastics in our oceans and in our bodies, and the damage toxics do to our environment and ourselves.
In particular, as part of an all-woman crew, I'll be looking to better understand the possible link between environmental exposure to pollution and negative impact on women’s health. Breast cancer rates in young women are on the rise, but women’s specific disease research has a low public profile in the media and there is an imbalance in research funding directed towards gender specific diseases.
I'm also hoping to bring attention to the lack of diversity in gender and race role models in both science / technology professions and in exploration. As part of eXXpedition I would join a crew of inspiring female role models and help redress the balance.
And then what?
When I get back from eXXpedition, I want to disseminate my newfound knowledge by engaging people through art. I plan to do a solo art exhibition, which I'm going to call 'eXXhibition' (see what I did there?) that will convey the impacts of plastic pollution and what we can do about it, through artistic media.
On a local level, I'll be running workshops where people can learn about the problem and create their own artwork on the theme to spread the word further. On a global level I'll be posting my art online to get the message across to as wide an audience as possible.
What's in it for you?
Lots and lots of lovely things. When I get back from eXXpedition, I'll be making a series of artworks for eXXhibition, and the originals as well as limited edition prints are available to backers as rewards. Because I haven't been on eXXpedition yet, I can't tell you exactly what the pieces will be like (if I knew that already what would be the point of going?) but here's some of my art to give you an idea:
There's more of my art in the video at the top, and here.
Other rewards include pages from my eXXpedition sketchbook, which could be sketches of just about anything, but might look something like these pages from my previous sketchbooks:
Or you can get colouring postcards made especially for eXXhibtion, which might be something a bit like these ones I made earlier:
You'll also get regular updates - you may have noticed by now that I like to write, so you won't be left wondering about my progress :)
In summary, I want to go to sea with an all-female crew to find out about plastic pollution and its effects on our environment and our health, and raise the profile of women in science and exploration; and then raise awareness by creating art, which you can get your hands on by backing this kickstarter.
Rewards start from just £1, so you can help the environment and be a patron of the arts for less than the cost of your cup of fairtrade coffee. Go on, you know you want to.
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Risks and challenges
I'm an experienced professional artist and I have a masters degree in Marine Science, so hopefully I won't have too much trouble pulling this off.
I guess the biggest risk would be a freak accident in which I, and my sketchbook, end up lost at sea, or, slightly more trivially, I'm unable to find a post office to send home those postcards from Reward #2.
If you chose a reward of original artwork, that's going to be shown at eXXhibition before it comes to you, and as I won't be booking a venue for that until the project is funded I can't yet be sure when I'll be finished with the work and can forward it to you; but the estimated shipping dates for originals are when I anticipate being able to ship them out and I'll do my best to stick to that.
I can't really see any other cause for delay in getting everything sorted; obviously there's always scope for unforeseen circumstances, but they are, well, unforeseen.
If you have a question about eXXpedition, eXXhibition, the rewards, or anything else, do get in touch, and I'll also start up an FAQ section once some questions have been frequently asked.
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- (29 days)