Fife photography exhibition aims to deepen awareness of ocean waste crisis

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Captivating images focused on a growing environmental crisis are to feature in an upcoming exhibition by an award-winning photographer.

Compelling work by acclaimed artist Mandy Barker, which highlights the global threat posed by marine plastic pollution, goes on show at Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries.

Our Plastic Ocean, which runs from until June 11, showcases powerful images of debris collected by the photographer from shorelines across the world.

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Barker’s images are, at first glance, reminiscent of sea creatures and corals suspended in a dark void beneath the sea, but closer inspection reveals a more disturbing reality.

The dead albatross chick had 274 pieces of plastic in its stomachThe dead albatross chick had 274 pieces of plastic in its stomach
The dead albatross chick had 274 pieces of plastic in its stomach

The artist instead highlights the incongruous plastic items now ubiquitous in our seas.

Eight million tonnes of plastic currently end up in the world’s oceans every year and if these trends continue, our oceans could contain more plastic than fish by 2050, the artist says.

Mandy Barker has followed a trail of plastic pollution across the globe – accompanying scientists from Hawaii to Japan; tracing the debris of the 2011 Tsunami; and sailing on board Greenpeace’s Beluga II to the Inner Hebrides.

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Our Plastic Ocean also features ‘Albatross’, which reveals 276 pieces of plastic found inside the stomach of a 90-day-old albatross chick; and ‘Beyond Drifting’, which sees Barker trace the footsteps of botanist John Vaughan Thompson.

The exhibition showcases notebooks documenting Barker’s voyages; a case of sand permeated with microplastics from a Hawaiian beach; and an installation of suspended footballs, crowdsourced from around the globe.

Mandy said: “For the past decade, I have combined art and science to raise awareness of the impact of oceanic waste. I hope to inspire positive action in tackling this increasing environmental challenge which is of global concern.”

OnFife Curator Lesley Lettice says: “Mandy Barker’s images are both rich in detail and hard-hitting in their subject matter – we’re delighted to host this timely, beautiful and thought-provoking exhibition.”

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