Photography exhibition highlighting plastic in oceans to open on Sherkin Island next month

Nuala Mahon, a Sherkin Island-based fine art photographer, is holding her exhibition, Leave No Visible Trace, to illustrate the detrimental impact of ocean plastic pollution
Photography exhibition highlighting plastic in oceans to open on Sherkin Island next month

Sherkin Island fine art photographer Nuala Mahon is pictured on Trá Eoghan Mór on Sherkin Island where she photographed ocean plastic debris.

A NEW multi-media exhibition on West Cork’s Sherkin Island is opening next month, which highlights our overdependence on plastic and how much of it is ending up in our oceans.

Nuala Mahon, a Sherkin Island-based fine art photographer, is holding her exhibition, Leave No Visible Trace, to illustrate the detrimental impact of ocean plastic pollution.

Her project started during lockdown in 2020 on her daily walks on Sherkin Island, when she became concerned about the quantity of plastic debris being washed up on the island’s beaches. Determined to highlight the increasing danger of ocean plastics, she set about recording what she was finding.

The exhibition of ethereal images was made using pinhole camera shots, that were then developed from bladderwrack seaweed instead of photographic processing chemicals, and fixed with a sea salt solution.

“I wanted every step of this process to be sustainable; to work hand-in-hand with nature to capture and develop the images,” she said.

Nuala, who holds a BSc and an MSc in Chemistry, is currently completing a BA(Hons) in Photography from The Open College for the Arts (OCA), which is the online college of The University of the Creative Arts (UCA). The exhibition forms part of her final year project.

Nuala’s haunting images will be displayed in the Community Hall on Sherkin Island, using sustainable materials such as hemp paper and recycled metals and board.

She also plans to have an installation on Trá Eoghan Mór beach (Cow Strand), on Sherkin Island, as part of the exhibition, showing a series of her images printed on linen.

As part of the awareness-raising process, Nuala worked with Sherkin Island children over the last 12 months to run a series of workshops creating artwork from ocean plastic debris.

In addition to ocean plastics found on the beach, Nuala also recorded her own personal use of plastics over a period of 12 months.

“My hope is that this exhibition will highlight that we are all part of the chain that perpetuates our collective over-dependence on plastic, and the steps we can all take to help break that chain to minimise plastic pollution in our environment,” she said.

Leave No Visible Trace is on show in the Community Hall on Sherkin Island from September 3-8 from 11am to 5pm daily.

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