"Testudines" Artist Statement:
I sculpted the Hawksbill Sea Turtle from salvaged, human-made, recyclable plastic shopping bags and water bottles that directly impact the livelihoods of these endangered species. Plastic materials are often found in the stomachs of sea turtles. The significance of using plastic bags for the shell is that the Hawksbill Sea Turtles are poached for their prized, beautiful shells. I created the structure of the shell by braiding plastic bags in to a spiral shape, inspired by the use of salvaged materials as seen in Vic Muniz and Tone Holmen’s works. Also like Muniz, I brought the marginalized to the center. Sea turtles are appreciated for their beauty, yet our capitalist-consumer society is deeply implicated in the destruction of their habitats and livelihoods, whether by poaching or environmental contaminations. I sculpted the Hawksbill Sea Turtle with plastic materials to highlight human accountability in the genocide of the species.