This series uses formal values within still-life photography to examine environmental degradation and waste. The project is site-specific; beach plastic waste was gleaned from Port Melbourne Beach over six months in 2023. Staged contemporary Ikebana arrangements of foraged foliage are entangled with plastic waste to create aesthetically attractive compositions, inviting closer inspection.

With its natural aging foliage, asymmetrical design, and belief that all living things return to the earth, Ikebana is directly opposed to modern consumerist values, our disposable culture and the permanency of plastic in the environment. The portrait style alludes to Dutch seventeenth-century Vanitas painting, which uses objects to remind viewers of their mortality and the worthlessness of worldly goods and pleasures. The bright colours subvert product photography, no longer an aspirational artifice but the insidious return, all matter resides somewhere, forever and ever, in our Anthropocene world.

instagram: @punkebana_forage

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Kim Tobin