FREE (no booking required)
Come down to the Cathedral to see a collection of Debra Shipley's beautiful, paper bowls created from rubbish, plastic, and chemicals as part of the Totally Thames Festival 2023
“Bowls In A Fragile World” is an exhibition which utilises the basic form of the food bowl, a shape universally recognised, and uses that shape to symbolise human need caused by pollution and climate change. The bowls were created using materials which are themselves part of the problem - junk mail, used envelopes and household packaging. For Southwark Cathedral site-specific bowls were made by artist, Debra Shipley, as part of the Thames Festival, to draw attention to our serious global problem with water pollution. Every bowl is polluted with chemicals and fragments of unwanted plastic - world-wide our rivers and oceans are similarly polluted.
In many cultures, worldwide and over millions of years, the bowl has been linked to daily food consumption - the very basis of human survival. That survival - the ability for everyone in the world to daily consume a bowl of food - is now being challenged on an unprecedented scale with the onset of climate change. Pollution on a global scale has corrupted our ecosystem and we are facing enormous problems to rectify the damage we have collectively done. The poorest on the planet will suffer first, but ultimately we are all now at fundamental risk with climate change bringing fires, floods and inevitably famine.
When you look into the bowls on display you will see specks of plastic and coloured laminate along with fragments of print. It is the artist’s hope that you will take time to think about pollution and climate change and then to take whatever action you are able.
Debra Shipley Biographical Information
I have been an artist all my life, but full time since 2005 working with a variety of materials.
My interest in bowls has spanned a period of over 50 years. I have a small personal collection which, for me, represent people around the globe. I originally studied Anthropology and the ways in which people interact with their environment is something which continues to fascinate me. The bowl is a practical shape originally created by people using materials which were local to them - wood, stone, clay, grass, leather; later metal, glass, plastic. My bowls are made from material locally available to me in 21st century England - junk mail, discarded envelopes, packaging.
Follow me on Instagram @debra.artist