Four incredible works of art inspired by Waves of Change

What is a “Wave of Change”? And what are we protecting? CBC East Coast asked four local artists to interpret that question through a unique work of art.

Local artists were tasked with interpreting the words of children.

An up close look at the detail of Ramir Bautista's piece. (Ramir Bautista)

What is a "Wave of Change"? And what are we protecting? CBC East Coast asked four local artists to interpret that question through a unique work of art.

For several months, CBC Atlantic has been reporting on issues around single-use plastics from all angles. We've visited a town that's banded together to protect the ocean, learned from a scientist who has studied the problem for years, and even tried to go waste-free for a month.

We also heard from tomorrow's generation about the issue. Last year, CBC Nova Scotia's Rob Doublett visited a local school to talk to kids about single-use plastics. What are single-use plastics, anyway? Why are they washing up on our beaches? And what are we going to do about it? The kids had a lot to say.

Their words helped to inspire our four artists as they set out to create pieces that depict the impact of single-use plastics on our oceans. Check out the four works of art below and see even more over on the CBC East Coast Instagram page.

Jessika Petten, Newfoundland and Labrador

Petten collected litter for her piece at a local beach. (Jessika Petten)

For a project all about our oceans, is there a better artist to collaborate with than a self-proclaimed "mermaid unicorn"? Meet Jessika Petten, from Newfoundland and Labrador. She's a professional hairstylist and makeup artist who famously shares her incredible looks on Instagram. Jessika interpreted Waves of Change by collecting litter at a local Newfoundland beach. Then, she celebrated with a tea party — using only reusable items and biodegradable body glitter, of course!

"It only took me 15 minutes to fill up that purple bucket with litter," Jessika says. "The most common offenders I found? Plastic straws and tampon applicators." (Why is that, anyway? We've got the low-down on plastic tampon applicators here.)

Penny Heather, New Brunswick

Heather's piece was created on a birch wood panel. (Penny Heather )

New Brunswick artist Penny Heather has been a maritimer since childhood, and creates works inspired by the environment surrounding her. Penny says, "I'm drawn to vibrant colours and vivid detail to express the energetic connection I feel with my work and the landscapes I escape to." Penny works in many mediums, and frequently incorporates wood and its grain throughout her work. You can see it in the piece above, which was painted on a birch wood panel.

For this project, Penny was inspired by the hopefulness of youth to create a painting that looked as though the pages of a children's book had come to life. The eclipse is inspired by the seemingly daunting problem of single-use plastic overuse.

"How can we change when we are using plastic in every part of our lives? Where do we start? Is it too late?" Penny says. "Plastic truly is everywhere, and it feels like such an impossibly enormous mission to take on. However, we witness seemingly impossible events in nature all of the time."

"The moon aligning so perfectly with the sun, turning day into night in matter of minutes? Impossible, and yet we are still enveloped by the impossibly dark, cold sky; and for that moment we nervously wonder to ourselves in silence, "will we ever feel the the warmth of the sunlight again?" Just before we linger too long on the despairing thought, the sunlight bursts back out onto us in a joyous eruption; of course it would return, in fact it was always a certainty. This seemingly impossible moment of light was the catalyst for enormous change."

Tania Pendergast, Prince Edward Island

Tania Pendergast highlights the best parts of living on the East Coast. (Tania Pendergast)

This Waves of Change project was inspired in part by the words of kids, making it appropriate to collaborate with an artist who specializes in words! Tania Pendergast of Prince Edward Island says she likes to think of herself as "a curator of beautiful words". She's a calligrapher, handlettering artist, and illustrator — and the woman behind the Etsy shop Bright Spot Papier & Art.

For this project, Tania sought to spotlight the best parts of living on the East Coast, so many of which have to do with our proximity to the ocean. A mom of two, Tania says "It's important to talk about how we can protect this beautiful part of our East Coast life so that it is here for future generations to enjoy."

Ramir Bautista, Nova Scotia

Bautista's art inspiration is a mix of Asian, Indian and Arab culture. (Ramir Bautista)

Ramir Bautista is a registered nurse in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and a self-taught artist. Originally from Philippines, he arrived in Canada in 2017.

"My art inspiration is a mix of Asian, Indian and Arab culture," says Ramir. "I lived in Saudi Arabia for seven years and I was fortunate enough to exposed to these beautiful cultures. I believe that no matter what language you use, art is one way to express your emotions."

Ramir's Waves of Change artwork is a 20x30-inch poster. The whale, he explains, represents the foundation of our East Coast community. It's pictured supporting the iconic Peggy's Cove lighthouse. "This art piece was inspired by the CBC radio interview with kids about their knowledge of single-use plastics," says Ramir. "It made me realize that these kids could be modern-day heroes, saving our ocean from the imaginable effects of single-use plastics in our ocean."

The wave carries the heroes — tomorrow's generation — with the Nova Scotia provincial flag, while ocean creatures cheer them on. "The wave represents the change we need in order to save our ocean, thus saving our community."