November 14, 2018
As many new parents will attest the first few months of a babies’ life do not usually leave much spare time to pursue creative endeavours. Fortunately for Queenscliff-based artist, Lauren Esplin, she had just signed up to an artistic collective that would allow her to make a strong comment on our disposable plastic culture.
Lauren had become a member of the Art and Soul Collective around a year prior to the delivery of her baby boy, Aiden, this April.
“The Collective put a call-out to its artists for ideas for an installation in the front window of the gallery. It was an amazing opportunity and a welcome distraction from a tiring feeding schedule and usual new parent anxieties. But with a 12-week old baby I didn’t think I would be able to participate,” explained Ms Esplin.
Despite her initial hesitation, Ms Esplin put forth her idea to create a mural using colourful plastic bottle tops to depict the word “Instantly” written in the iconic Copperplate script used by Sydney’s very own Arthur Stace, the legendary Mr Eternity.
From 1932 to 1967, Stace scrolled the word Eternity with chalk on footpaths in and around Sydney. He gained fame as a reformed alcoholic who converted to Christianity and was obsessed with the idea of where one would spend eternity. Ms Esplin has always been intrigued by Stace’s story and his message of Eternity.
“It struck me that some fifty years on from Stace’s death, our society seems enamoured with exactly the opposite to Eternity, Instantly. Food and drink in an instant, fashion in an instant, communication in an instant”, she said.
Ms Esplin’s idea was to highlight the irony of using chalk, a substance easily washed away, to write the word Eternity, compared with using plastic, a material that can take over 450 years to decompose, to depict the word Instantly.
Over the next four months, the installation came to together through the donation of thousands of plastic bottle-top lids from the community and the help of dedicated Art and Soul Collective members.
“I was really touched by the way everyone came together to bring this idea to life. So many of my fellow collective members helped to refine the concept, collect bottle caps, and put the final piece together. Members of the community also donated bottle caps. It really was a team effort and I think it’s because people do care. They care about the environment and the world we are creating for our children”, Ms Esplin said.
The message. Are we losing sight of the big picture as we speed through this world faster than ever before?
Check-out the installation as well as a diverse range of artworks at the Art and Soul Gallery at 1/559 Sydney Road Seaforth open between 10am and 4pm Wednesday to Saturday and 10am to 1pm on Sunday.
Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.