(Sierra Magazine) The Art of Saving Oceans

Seemore the Sea Lion Pup by Angela Pozzi. Photo by Nachama Soloveichik.

Seemore the Sea Lion Pup by Angela Pozzi. Photo by Nachama Soloveichik.


My article about Angela Pozzi, an Oregon artist who makes sculptures out of litter that her nonprofit cleans up from beaches, appears in Sierra Magazine.

Here’s the lede:

This September, a shark, a parrot fish, a sea lion pup, a jellyfish, and a giant anemone will occupy the U.S. State Department for a couple of days. That’s not because the nation’s foreign ministry is relaxing its security standards. The animals are sculptures, which Oregon-based artist Angela Pozzi and her team of volunteers constructed completely out of plastic litter they retrieved from Oregon beaches.

Eight pieces will be on view at the department’s Our Ocean conference on September 15 and 16. Many of the sculptures were previously on view in a Smithsonian National Zoo exhibition. That exhibit, titled “Washed Ashore,” drew its name from Pozzi’s nonprofit and featured 17 of Pozzi’spieces. Visitors to that exhibition, particularly children, swarmed around each sculpture, gawked at the recognizable pieces of plastic, and snapped selfies beside the animals.

Pozzi’s conservation-minded work is designed to raise awareness about the dangers of litter, and has been on view at several zoos, botanic gardens, and aquariums across the nation. Her sculpture “Turtle Ocean” is on view at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. But exhibiting at the State Department is different for her. “It is truly the most important audience we have ever had,” she says. “It is a great privilege to be able to have our sculptures do their work in front of an international audience, which is in the middle of active decision-making about the ocean and debating international policies.”

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