‘Plastic Family’ Art made of Ocean Pollution

by Editorial Staff


Plastic-Family-hero-2 ©XabierAldazabal-Panthalassa


At Panthalassa we believe that art has the ability to attract attention, while at the same time sending a message that resonates and lasts over time.

If you walk in the next few days through the beaches of San Sebastian’s "La Concha" or Biarritz you may come across a special family. A family of plastic created by Panthalassa that aims to make visible the great amount of waste that ends up in the sea every day. "If the sea could see us, it would see us as plastic beings. Our seas are the destination for more than 8 million tons of plastic per year. " This impressive figure was the one that inspired its founder and creative director, Sergio Penzo, to partner with Rebecca Kudela and create the installation "Plastic Family".


Blue-plastic ©XabierAldazabal-Panthalassa 

Each family in Spain and France produces an average of 145 kilos of plastic waste per year. Much of it goes in to the ocean, the same ocean that these families enjoy during the summer on their beach vacations. Recognizing ourselves as the source of the problem is the first step in modifying our habits, that is why we have created a typical family that exposes this reality and confronts us with the plastic crisis, a reflection that today is essential. At Panthalassa we believe that art has the ability to attract attention, while at the same time sending a message that resonates and lasts over time.


Rebecca Kudela-Plastic-Family ©XabierAldazabal-Panthalassa


"Plastic Family" was created with plastic waste collected on in the main beaches of the Spanish and French Basque country during the month of August. With them, we have "dressed" a family that during the last week of August and September will be exposed on the same beaches to raise awareness among passers-by of the great responsibility we have in our daily decisions on reducing, recycling and reusing. For example avoiding buying or using single-use plastics.


Making-of-Plastic-Family ©XabierAldazabal-Panthalassa 

This project was conceived by Sergio Penzo and its development has been under the artistic direction of Rebecca Kudela, a Californian designer based in Biarritz. It has been encouraging to see how this project has motivated friends and family and even holiday makers who have spontaneously joined the plastic collection tasks. 


Plastic-Family-closeup-2 ©XabierAldazabal-Panthalassa

Plastic-Family-woman ©XabierAldazabal-Panthalassa


Currently the world produces 300 million tons of plastic waste every year. This is almost equivalent to the weight of the entire human population, and half of this plastic is designed to be used only once. This data is provided by the UN Environment Program (UNEP). Researchers estimate that more than 8.3 billion tons of plastic have been manufactured since the early 1950s. Of these, only 9% have been recycled, around 12% have been incinerated, and the remaining 79% has not been recycled. It has ended up in the environment (landfills, garbage dumps and oceans). In the next decade, our oceans will have about one kilo of plastic per three kilograms of fish. Through the so-called microplastics, small plastic particles up to 5 mm in diameter, which are ingested by fish, enter our food chain. If current trends continue, our oceans may contain more plastic than fish by 2050.


Panthalassa is a platform that brings together creators who love the sea and who have set themselves the task of creating and spreading stories that put a spotlight on the fragility and beauty of our oceans. “Plastic Family” is their first project since they opened the gallery and collaborative space 'Blue Factory' with headquarters in San Sebastian, last July.


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