05 Sep Discarded Plastic Ropes Turned Into Elegant Tapestry: Weaving the Ocean Art Installation

Earlier this month, on September 5, we unveiled Ari Bayuaji’s ‘Weaving the Ocean’ Art Installation and Exhibit at our Center for Marine Conservation. This intimate event was attended by Ari’s closest friends, NGOs, and the gallery’s representative. It started with a background of the making of Weaving the Ocean, hosted by our Executive Director, Rili Djohani, in our courtyard.  

‘Weaving the Ocean’ is a community art project that transforms discarded plastic ropes found by the artist in Sanur’s mangroves into works of fine art. For CTC’s exhibition, Ari transformed the plastic ropes into striking representations of the Gajah Minah (Balinese God of the Sea) and giant jellyfish floating and rising above the ocean floor.

“I was grateful for how beautiful Bali was. But when I cleaned up the beach closest to my house, I found many plastic ropes. I thought it was the starting point for creating these things. I did some research about the weaving culture here. Then, I combined it with what I found at the beach, the plastic ropes.” said Ari.

Ari is known for his artistic incorporation of found objects collected from various parts of the world. He says that found or ready-made objects that compose his creative material might be “old”, but he injects his work with emotion influenced by contemporary issues and in the case of ‘Weaving the Ocean’, it is about plastic pollution.

​​In the Weaving the Ocean Art Installation at CTC, Ari highlights the Gajah Mina –  a mythical figure with the head of an elephant and the body of a fish. In Sanur, Bali, there are temples decorated with Gajah Mina as the guardian of their gates. Many fishermen’s wooden boats (jukung) have Gajah Mina’s head carved on their bows.  Gajah Mina is also believed to be a representation of the God of the sea, Dewa Baruna.

“My sculpture of Gajah Mina is inspired by the statues and carvings I have seen in my daily life in Sanur. I think it is very important to have this sculpture as an installation with my other works at the Coral Triangle Center. Constructed with wood, plastic threads found on the beach, and hand-woven plastic and cotton threads (as the scales), the creature is looking up at the giant jellyfish and other plastic objects floating above it. I would like to make the audience feel how Gajah Mina, as the representation of the God of the sea, feels hopeless at the bottom of the ocean watching what is going on in the ocean because of our action, human action,” he said. 

The Weaving the Ocean Art Installation will be displayed in our Center for Marine Conservation in the next few months and is one of a series of exhibitions that will be launching in the next couple of weeks in the lead up to the full opening of our Exhibition Hall in October. CTC is inspired to collaborate with artists who are also working alongside us to achieve our vision for healthy seas for people and nature. Artworks that are part of Weaving the Ocean collection are also available for purchase, with proceeds supporting CTC’s marine conservation programs in Indonesia and the Coral Triangle.

Photos: Leilani Gallardo/CTC & Adam Putra/CTC

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