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PROBLEM PLASTIC: New thought provoking exhibition unveiled at Gala Gallery

PROBLEM PLASTIC: New thought provoking exhibition unveiled at Gala Gallery

Images from Durham County Council


Gala Gallery in Durham unveils new thought provoking exhibition highlighting the devastation of plastic pollution. 

An environmental art exhibition, which explores the problem of coastal plastic pollution, has opened at a Durham City art gallery.

Oh I do like to be…, by artist Diane Watson, uses hundreds of plastic items, found washed up on north east beaches, to create artworks designed to highlight the scale of pollution in our oceans.

The free exhibition, which will be on display in the Durham County Council-run Gala Gallery until Wednesday 6 November, showcases intricate pieces created using a wide range of discarded objects such as plastic bottle lids, fishing line, tampon applicators, lighters and children’s toys.

Former fashion and textiles tutor Diane collected her art materials from the region’s coastline during long walks with her rescue dogs, Bobby and Finn. Her environmentally - themed works aim to inspire a shift in attitudes towards single-use plastics and viewers are challenged to inspect waste objects in an unfamiliar context, considering not just the
manufacturing cost of plastic products but the cost to the environment.

The colourful kaleidoscopic patterns in Diane’s art are reminiscent of the 1970s wallpapers of her childhood and were inspired by the sample books brought home by her painter and decorator father.

Diane said: “I am really pleased to finally be able to exhibit this body of work, and to raise awareness of the environmental impact that plastic has on our seas and wildlife.”

Diane, whose work also featured in Durham’s 2019 Lumiere light festival, has worked with Gala Gallery to create digital resources to accompany the exhibition.

These will be used by schools and community groups to further explore the problems posed by the almost 300
million tonnes of plastic produced every year, half of which is for single use.

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council Cabinet member for Economy and Partnerships, said: “In just 10 miles of coastline, Diane found 373 plastic items which she has incorporated into her work. When this is multiplied by the hundreds of thousands of miles worldwide, the extent of ocean plastic pollution becomes alarmingly evident.

“By creating these beautiful artworks, Diane is drawing attention to the extent of the damaging impacts of plastics which are washed up on our shores. Her work is a perfect example of how art and cultural events can raise awareness of important issues and act as a vehicle for change.

“The ability of art to inspire and educate, to challenge opinions and to communicate with people of all ages and backgrounds, is something we’re championing in our bid to make Durham the UK City of Culture 2025.”

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