Plastic Ocean

Mandy Barker

This is a recording of a past event
19 February 2024


In this recording of an online talk, we explore a photographic artist’s response to the worrying state of our oceans today.

Oceans are essential to life on earth. They cover more than 70% of the planet’s surface, regulate the climate, and supply the oxygen we need to survive. But every year, more than 8 million metric tons of plastic enters our oceans, affecting marine environments, biodiversity, over 700 different species, and ultimately human health.

For more than 13 years, artist Mandy Barker has created different series of work to try to engage new audiences with the harmful effects of marine plastic pollution. Captions alongside Mandy’s work detail the ‘ingredients’ of the plastic objects photographed, list brands, or provide descriptions about locations and countries and what was recovered there. The aim is to provide the viewer with a realisation of what exists in our oceans. It is hoped that raising awareness of the scale of plastic pollution that is affecting our oceans, through the passing on of these facts combined with scientific research, will ultimately lead the viewer to want to make change and take action.

Mandy writes:

“Art alone cannot change the world. But by bringing attention to marine plastic pollution in this way, it is hoped my work will help inform, and raise awareness about the overconsumption of plastic and the wider issue of climate change, and in doing so encourage a wider audience to want to do something about it.”

mandy barker

Mandy Barker

Mandy Barker is an international award-winning photographic artist whose work has received global recognition. Working with scientists, she aims to raise awareness about plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, highlighting the harmful effect on marine life, climate change and ultimately ourselves.

Mandy’s work has been published in over 50 different countries, and has been used to illustrate key academic and scientific research papers. She has exhibited her work world-wide, including in New York, London, and Hong Kong. Mandy has taken part in key scientific expeditions to some of the remotest places in the world. Her journeys have seen her crossing the North Pacific Ocean on a yacht and to Henderson Island in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, which is one of the most polluted beaches on the planet.

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