Artist Alejandro of 'Washed Up'
Never has the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” been so relevant than at the Museum of Garbage in the Sian Ka’an Reserve. The Museum of Garbage, or “El Museo de la Basura”, is part of multimedia artist Alejandro Durán’s Washed Up project. Alejandro Durán has been visiting Sian Ka’an for over five years. When he first arrived he was surprised and disgusted by the amount of rubbish that washed up on the shores in this UNESCO World Heritage site. He says that his project, Washed Up, looks at the “issue of plastic pollution making its way across the ocean and onto the shores of Sian Ka’an, Mexico’s largest federally-protected reserve.”
Alejandro has found rubbish from over 50 different countries, which has been carried to the shores of Sian Ka’an over the second largest barrier reef system in the world. The Washed Up project’s May events and the opening of the Museum of Garbage were designed to create and promote environmental awareness, and, to ultimately encourage changing the patterns of consumption and waste that humans have developed.
GVI helped to prepare and set up the art exhibitions at the Museum for the visiting children from Punta Allen. Volunteers reconstructed the toothbrush piece consisting of over 50 toothbrushes, which had been found washed up on the shores of Sian Ka’an. Others rinsed over 200 different shoes in various shades of blue to form a beautiful piece where all the shoes were placed in a massive spiral amongst the mangroves. Many others organized and sorted through rubbish with everybody contributing in many ways to help with the set-up of the Museum.
When the children came, staff and volunteers showed them around the museum with Alejandro as a guide. All of the students were surprised at the diverse origins of the rubbish and everyone was engaged and curious as to what piece of rubbish came from which country. The students spoke about their disappointment that there is so much trash in the ocean and talked about the messages they would like to send to the world to try to stop the pollution of the ocean.
The students all explored the museum and learnt a lot about recycling and plastics including which plastics are recyclable and which aren’t. A small beach clean with all of the children was completed after the tour and, after a talk from Alejandro, the event came to a close.
The final activity of the Washed Up project happened on Monday 11 May 2015 where the whole GVI team travelled down to Punta Allen, taking two truck loads of rubbish from the Museum. The rubbish was then carefully sorted into different colours ready to create a new art installation. In Punta Allen, GVI went to the Primary and Secondary school to take groups of students out to the local park where they made posters with the messages they wanted to send to the world about recycling and ocean pollution.
Our Marine conservation project at Pez Maya can only be useful if we are able to educate people on how to improve their interactions with nature and help to protect and conserve our environment. The Washed Up initiative was an effective way to get important messages across to all of those involved.
GVi Pez Maya were very happy that they could support and contribute to such an amazing project.
Thank you for your continued support,
The local community at Punta Allen get involved
Students getting excited about recycling!
One of the installations at the Museum of Garbage