Manila-based artist and designer Leeroy New challenges us to think about the waste produced from everyday materials by constructing elaborate sculptures out of discarded plastics. His large-scale works are made by cutting, twisting, and tying together found objects like water jugs, film reels, tubes, and bottles into forms that evoke a sense of movement or migration. Embracing the exterior of a building as part of the Biennale of Sydney earlier this year, the tentacle-like public installation “Balete” was inspired by the discovery of piles of discarded irrigation hoses at recycling centers in Australia. In “Flotilla,” individual pieces are suspended from the ceiling and appear to glide past like a fleet of uncanny vessels or undersea organisms.
In 2019, the Institute for Economics and Peace reported that New’s home country of the Philippines is most at risk from the climate crisis due to rising temperatures and sea levels. Manila is second only to Tokyo as the city most affected by natural disasters. Reimagining a more positive and sustainable future for his community and the planet, New explores the culture, history, and mythology of his Philippines heritage to underscore the palpable impacts of the climate crisis.
To mark the occasion of Earth Day on April 22, a new installation sails across the courtyard of London’s Somerset House this month in the form of a fleet of arks. You can find more of the artist’s work on Instagram and his website.