Watasu Ltd., a Japanese company involved in the planning of SDGs-related events, held an "SDGs art exhibition" at Mitsui Outlet Park Yokohama Bayside on April 10th and 11th, 2021, with the aim of raising awareness of SDGs.

The materials used to make the artworks were sourced from trash collected on Katase Higashihama Beach opposite the popular tourist destination of Enoshima Island during a "Spo Gomi" trash collection event held on November 3rd, 2020. Spo Gomi, a portmanteau of "sports" and gomi, the Japanese word for trash, is designed to make trash collection fun for the participants by turning it into a sport.

About 150 people, from children to the elderly, participated. From the seemingly clean beach, the volunteers found not only marine litter but also various kinds of trash such as cigarettes, food trays, earphones and children's toys.

Art by Paint Creator minami

Two artworks were made by Fukuoka-based Paint Creator minami, an up-and-coming artist who creates illustrations and three-dimensional works, mainly using acrylic paint. Through the "ORINASU Scrap and Build" project, she seeks to communicate environmental issues through her art.

The first piece was inspired by sailing, as Enoshima Island in Fujisawa City is the venue for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics sailing events. This piece was made from materials collected and signed by the participants of the abovementioned Spo Gomi competition.

The second piece was inspired by the whale, the motif of the "Kanagawa Prefectural Declaration on Zero Plastic Waste." The whale is made from discarded nets used to fish octopus and whitebait, which is a specialty of Enoshima, as well as scrap materials from yachts.

In addition, the exhibition displayed two of the artist's existing works and art made with octopus basket traps created by students of Yokohama Municipal Minami High School and other schools in the hope of raising awareness of marine litter.

Reactions from the public

When they exhibited at an earlier exhibition held in Fujisawa City Hall and MARK IS Minato Mirai the artworks elicited many positive reactions from the public, such as:

  • "I was shocked that the ocean is so dirty! I'm going to start doing what I can, even if it's something small." (A woman in her 30s)
  • "My child is studying SDGs at elementary school, so I was very interested. I was glad to be able to see the work up close. (A woman in her 30s, visiting with her preschooler child)
  • "This summer, the Olympics and Paralympics will be held, so we want to invite people from all over the world to enjoy a beautiful sea." (Couple in their 70s)

Other activities

The exhibition also featured a workshop for children to make their own art using recycled litter...

...and even a cheerleading lesson from the "Virtual Allstar Pro-Cheerleaders."

By - grape Japan editorial staff.