Plastic is all around us, to the extent that some view plastic as “garbage.” Artist Aurora Robson has been focusing on raising awareness on plastic as an artistic material, while simultaneously advocating to limit the detrimental issues from its disposability and the environmental impact plastic debris causes.

Aurora Robson is a multimedia artist in the Hudson Valley. Born in Toronto and raised in Hawaii, Robson’s work focuses on the negative impacts of plastic waste collecting in the ocean. As stated in Robson’s website, “Her work is a formal meditation on recurring nightmares she had as a child which she hybridizes with forms found in nature.”

Doughnut Economics by Aurora Robsom. Image courtesy of the artist.

Aurora Robson is a recipient of multiple art and sustainability awards including the Pollock-Krasner Grant, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Sculpture, a TED/Lincoln Re-Imagine Prize and a National Endowment for the Arts Art Work Grant.

In addition, Robson is the founding artist of Project Vortex, a collective of artists, architects and designers who work in innovative ways to develop initiatives to restrict the flow of plastic pollution in natural environments and oceans. Since 2014, Robson has assisted the development of a course called Sculpture + Intercepting the Waste Stream, designed to foster creative stewardship through academia at colleges, universities and high schools on a global scale.  

The Great Indoors by Aurora Robson. Image courtesy of the Rice Gallery.

Robson’s work titled The Great Indoors was created for the Rice University Art Gallery in Houston in 2008 and used 15,000 plastic bottles collected from the streets of New York City. The immersive installation was meant to feel like the sculpture is a living breathing organism.

Fermi by Aurora Robson. Image courtesy of the artist.

Robson’s commitment to the global issue of plastic debris pollution addresses the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of Life Below Water, as her work reveals the impact that discarded plastics can have on the environment and how disposability and consumerism impact animal life. Robson additionally values the importance of Sustainable Cities and Communities with her Anthropocene epoch views of the future. Robson’s work is also congruent with Responsible Consumption and Production, amplifying the importance of educating people on plastic consumption.

In an interview for Luxiders Magazine, Robson mentions how humans take plastic for granted and treat it as a raw material when it really should be replaced with items and experiences that heighten our pleasure and understandings about what it is to be a human being, “Scarcity economics is an outdated model that doesn’t serve us and wreaks havoc on the planet.”

troika by Aurora Robson. Image courtesy of the artist.

To help support Robson’s cause and raise awareness about the global problem of plastic debris, check out Project Vortex and other organizations such as the Surfrider Foundation, Agalita and the Wayfinder Society.

The Surfrider Foundation raises funds for clean water and healthy beaches while advocating for plastic reduction, ocean protection and coastal preservation. Agalita and the Wayfinder Society empower youth to think critically about the environmental impact of plastic pollution with focus on supporting and developing change and solutions. Donations can be made through the provided links.

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