WASTE

Finalist

Mandy Barker - Hong Kong Soup (湯)

Mandy Barker Plastic ice-lolly wrappers and syringes collected from visits to three different beaches on Hong Kong Island, Lantau Island, and the New Territories. Includes; seahorse, dolphin, elephant, crocodile, pig, cat, bear and fruits, with Chinese New Year...
Mandy Barker Miniature plastic imitation sticky rice packages found in the sea. Zongzi, or Zong are traditionally made from bamboo leaves and thrown into the sea as part of the Dragon Boat Festival in Hong Kong. (Recovered from Tai O Beach, Lantau Island, November...
Mandy Barker Representing 150 tonnes of nurdles (pre-production pellets), spilt from a cargo container during Typhoon Vicente on 23 July 2012, adds to Hong Kong’s waste issues in the sea and on its beaches. The image mirrors the night sky on the day of the spillage...
Mandy Barker Discarded cigarette lighters make reference to our single use ‘Throw Away’ society. The panda motif, a national emblem of China, faces away from the group representing endangered species with Mother Nature turning her back on man’s inability to take...
Mandy Barker A collection of different species of waste artificial flowers that would not exist at the same flowering time in nature and should not be found in the ocean. The Lotus flower has associations with beauty as early as Guofeng in the Book of Poetry, written...
Mandy Barker Ten objects of municipal waste collected from ten different beaches relate to Hong Kong’s traditional village New Year’s dish, Poon Choi, which is comprised of ten layers of ingredients that go into this one-pot meal. Includes; child’s sandal,...
Mandy Barker Waste packaging from single-use food, and drink items with household products, found alongside medical and hazardous waste are depicted in this image. Includes; bottle tops and bottles, plastic gift wrap from Shenzhen’s miniature village, condoms, and...
Mandy Barker Representing 52 tonnes of polystyrene foam dining ware that goes into landfill each day. Foam pieces litter every beach in Hong Kong. Includes; polystyrene dining ware, packaging, balls, toys and fishing related debris. (Polystyrene collected from five...
Mandy Barker Recovered toy transformers reflect inadequate disposal of children’s toys, with the message to TRANSFORM the habits and behavior of the public in Hong Kong, the emphasis being to take ACTION. Includes; action figures. (Transformers; part of a...
Mandy Barker Waste collected from the Soko Islands represents the contour of the beaches and shape of the islands from where the waste was collected. Includes; medical, agricultural, and fishing related waste, whilst highlighting the dragon and fan, symbolic items...

Biography

Mandy Barker is an international, award-winning photographer and her work involving marine plastic debris has received global recognition. Her series SOUP has been published in over 20 countries including TIME Magazine USA, The Guardian Eyewitness, GEO, CNN, and The Explorers Journal. She has exhibited internationally and her work is currently touring the United States as part of exhibition Gyre: The Plastic Ocean, which began in 2013 at The Anchorage Museum, Alaska.

In 2012 Barker was awarded The Royal Photographic Society’s Environmental Bursary enabling her to join scientists aboard a Plastic Research Expedition sailing from Japan to Hawaii through the Tsunami Debris Field in the Pacific Ocean. This opportunity allowed her to create the series SHOAL, enabling her to see debris at source and providing a solid foundation for her ongoing work.

Barker speaks internationally about her work and in November 2013 was invited to speak at the Plastic Free Seas Youth Conference in Hong Kong. She has contributed to articles for CNN International concerning the relationship between the arts and the environment, and in the United States her work was featured on TIME Magazine’s Lightbox for Earth Day 2012. She has been nominated twice for the prestigious Prix Pictet award, the world’s leading photographic award in sustainability, and in 2014 received an award from Lens Culture for her series PENALTY, which involved the collection of 769 marine debris soccer balls from around the World. She was also selected as a finalist in the Critical Mass Top 50 of 2014.

Barker’s work aims to engage with, and stimulate, an emotional response in the viewer by combining a contradiction between initial aesthetic attraction and the subsequent message of awareness. The impact of oceanic waste is an area Barker is committed to pursuing through innovative visual interpretation, hoping it will ultimately lead to positive action in tackling this increasing global environmental problem.

Project Statement

Hong Kong Soup (湯) is a recently completed, long term project depicting waste plastic collected from over thirty different beaches in Hong Kong. Over 1,826 tonnes of municipal waste plastic per day goes into landfill in Hong Kong, and each image reflects the diverse range of these products by highlighting recovered objects or groups having escaped recycling or landfill.

The images directly relate to the traditions, events, nature, and culture of Hong Kong, with the intention to connect with its people providing awareness about the crisis facing effective waste management. Objects include products from manufacturing, retail, household and medical waste alongside agricultural, shipping and fishing related debris.

Soup (湯) is a description given to plastic debris suspended in the sea and in this case with reference to the waste crisis in Hong Kong. The series aims to engage with the public by stimulating an emotional response, combining a contradiction between initial aesthetic attraction with an awareness to encourage social responsibility.

All debris in this series has been collected over the past three years (since 2012). Photographed in Hong Kong and composed in the United Kingdom, it represents a wide-ranging collection of waste that has existed for varying amounts of time on Hong Kong’s own doorstep.

Statistic – The Environmental Protection Department, Hong Kong. Waste Statistics for 2012.