Giant plastic and styrofoam whale meant to raise awareness of ocean pollution

Yukon artist Joyce Majiski’s next project is to recreate, to scale, an exact replica of a huge humpback, using only styrofoam and plastic diverted from landfills as a metaphor for what the world's garbage is doing to our oceans.

'Are we going to inevitably cause the destruction of these animals because of our actions?'

Joyce Majiski is crafting a life-sized whale made of recovered styrofoam and plastic that would otherwise go to a landfill. Here, she is crafting part of the whale's bones using actual whale bones, found at UBC, as a guide. (jmajiski.tumblr.com)

The harm to wildlife caused by garbage in the world's oceans has a Yukon artist inspired to make art with a message.

Joyce Majiski's next project is to recreate, to scale, an exact replica of a huge humpback whale, using only styrofoam and plastic diverted from landfills as a metaphor for what the world's garbage is doing to our oceans.

When it's complete, Majiski hopes her 11-metre-long art installation spend some time hanging from ceilings around B.C., accompanied by the sounds of whales communicating with each other

"I want to create the soundscape as a conversation between humanity and the sea," Majiski said.

"Are we going to inevitably cause the destruction of these animals because of our actions?"

Joyce Majiski plans to make the whale's skeleton from recovered styrofoam and its skin out of plastic. (jmajiski.tumblr.com)

Majiski has been at the University of British Columbia this week to study whale bones.

The Beaty Biodiversity Museum has a full-sized whale skeleton in storage on Salt Spring Island — a juvenile female — and she will also use that to guide her work.

Inspired by beach trips

Majiski said she was inspired by a trip to beaches in Spain and Mexico, where she found enough garbage on the beaches to make nets out of washed-up plastic, and fish made of rubbish.

It made her think about the scope of the problem of pollution and how interconnected the world's oceans are.

"It's a big problem ... and people are getting more and more aware of that," she said. "This is one small, small project to raise awareness about this huge issue."

The plastic for the whale project is coming from a dump in Whitehorse, along with landfill waste found in B.C.

Majiski said she has started looking for galleries and institutions in B.C. to host her installation.

She said it will debut in Whitehorse in December 2020.

With files from Deborah Goble