Kinmen artist carves life out of marine garbage

2017/02/20 22:24:08 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Kinmen artist carves life out of marine garbage

Taipei, Feb. 20 (CNA) Marine garbage can be a free and sustainable material for creating art, a reality Kinmen-based sculptor Wang Ming-tzung (王明宗) has taken full advantage of.

Wang is famed in his hometown of Kinmen, an outlying county much closer to China than to Taiwan, for carving art works out of clay. He has also made his name more recently, however, by using styrofoam chunks washed onto Kinmen beaches as a base material for his creations.

Cylinder-shape styrofoam chunks have been one of the largest forms of marine garbage by volume found on Kinmen's coast, consisting mostly of collision-resistant buoys hung on boats and used by oyster farmers in southern China, which is less than 10 kilometers away.

There's never a shortage of styrofoam blocks on the beach close to his workshop, Wang said, and he felt it was a waste to throw them away or pollute the air by burning them.

He realized, however, that the disposed styrofoam buoys are thick and dense enough to be used as a material for sculpting, so he began a new creative adventure, he said.

When carving styrofoam, "you have to be decisive and think carefully what you are going to sculpt before doing it" because there is no room for mistakes, Wang says.

The first styrofoam work Wang created is a "wolf," the symbolic creature of cub scouts. It has a wide-open mouth and vicious green eyes.

"No one would know it was carved out of styrofoam if they weren't told," Wang said with a laugh.

Sculpting with styrofoam only requires a simple saw, and because it doesn't cost anything and using it helps protect the environment, Wang suggested that Kinmen promote sculpture education with styrofoam given the county's shortage of wood and stone work masters.

(By Emmy Huang and Elizabeth Hsu)
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