A goodwill gesture to the UK’s littered coastlines
Throughout August, Warwickshire-based artist Rob Hamp is travelling to some of the UK’s busiest coastal locations to collect litter and sand to inform a new architectural artwork.
The Art Can Be Rubbish Too project aims to encourage recycling, civic pride, and asks us to look again at our own relationship to waste. The work will be launched at Coventry Biennial 2021 this October and is a co-commission between Coventry Biennial and UK City of Culture 2021 / Green Futures.
Image by Jill Reidy, Red Snapper Photography
Waste and litter are massive problems – and have only become worse over the pandemic. Councils across the country have reported that they have been collecting tonnes more waste from their areas, particularly as people have been increasingly using parks and open spaces during lockdowns.
Rob is visiting some of the seaside holiday locations most favoured by West Midlanders: Skegness (2nd August), Great Yarmouth (4th August), Weston-Super-Mare (9th August), Blackpool (11th August), St Ives (17th & 18th August), Margate (23rd August) and Folkestone (25th August).
Rob is joined on these trips by youth groups from Coventry and Warwickshire – arguably the most land-locked area of the UK, as well as local groups from the areas they visit. The young people are supportiung the litter-picking process, working creatively with Rob and engaging with people locally, opening up debate and conversation about waste. A bin from Coventry is also travelling with the team, allowing people to dispose of their waste in the areas he visits. It is a gesture of goodwill from these visiting ambassadors from Warwickshire to the wider country – to help with a problem that affects us all. It also aims to act as a call to action for people across the UK to work together, reduce waste and create positive environmental change. He says:
“This is Coventry’s year to present itself beyond any gallery and there seems no better way than lending a hand across the country. We all have problems, but we’re offering to take on a little of yours too. A gesture, ‘litterally’.”
“As the travel management partner for Coventry UK City of Culture, we are thrilled to be supporting Rob Hamp, Coventry Biennial and Electric Zoo on this project. Around 25% of pollution from the world’s carbon emissions is transport-related, and the majority of that is from people using combustion engine vehicles. Enabling people to track Rob’s environmental odyssey and join him in transforming the rubbish littered on UK beaches into art is a brilliant way to showcase our service, whilst shining a creative spotlight on the climate emergency.”
Once the litter is back in Coventry, Rob will host collaborative and performative sorting sessions, where the waste materials are sifted through, documented, elevated into temporary micro-artworks before being responsibly disposed of. The final artwork, informed by his travels, conversations and experiences will be presented at the Old Grammar School in Coventry from October 2021 to January 2022.
Art Can be Rubbish Too is supported in coastal locations by Abingdon Studios in Blackpool, Folkestone Triennial and Turner Contemporary in Margate.
About Coventry Biennial
About Coventry UK City of Culture 2021
About Electric Zoo
About You Smart Thing
Project partner, ‘You. Smart. Thing.’, is an online travel assistant service that guides people to destinations the smart way; personalised, accessible and sustainable. https://yousmartthing.com/uk/