School Art Project Launched

The latest from Creations for Cetaceans,  an art and environmental awareness initiative, is launched by the World Cetacean Alliance in Durban, South Africa.

Brighton, 18 April 2017

The first highly anticipated school art initiative from ‘Creations for Cetaceans,’ facilitated by leading South African art company Umcebo Design, is getting underway in Durban, South Africa in the  run–up to the World Whale Conference in June. Cetacean is the collective name referring to whales, dolphins and porpoises. The project involves the creation of large whale sculptures made from recycled waste materials by local school children.

This collaboration between the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA), local art company Umcebo Design, corporate sponsors and local Durban schools aims to create awareness of the threat of pollution to our oceans and its inhabitants. The United Nations estimates that 8 million tons of plastic trash are dumped into the world’s oceans each year. Bottle caps, toothbrushes, bottles and plastic bags are often ingested by marine animals while others can become entangled. According to the International Whaling Commission, recent research suggests that examples of ingestion of marine debris have been found for just over half of cetacean species.

Combining art with an educational component, the initiative aims to facilitate a creative conversation amongst young students about the role each of us can play in protecting our environment.

Speaking about the launch of this exciting collaboration, Dylan Walker, CEO of the World Cetacean Alliance, commented on how great it is to arrive at this important milestone. ‘Involving both the arts and local communities is integral to the work of the World Cetacean Alliance, and we are proud to be involved with this project. Art, in its many forms, is an outstanding way to involve people with issues such as marine conservation, and highlight the problem of marine litter to children in a way that is both fun and inspiring.

Community projects like this can be such catalysts for young people, and can often have life-changing impacts. If just one person strives for a career in marine conservation or sustainability as a result of exciting projects like this, then we will have done our job!’

Umcebo Design’s Creative Director, Robin Opperman said ‘Umcebo Design aims to create high end art pieces which highlight the beauty of these creatures and which show the infinite possibilities for creative recycling. We are making a powerful statement by using the very materials that threaten the existence of cetaceans to make examples of them, and to create an awareness of them and their importance to our planet. This is whimsical and yet very powerful at the same time.’

The WCA aims to increase local participation and engagement with responsible whale tourism and recycling projects through fun and creative projects such as this.