This incredible artwork has been sponsored by Coca-Cola Australia as part of our commitment to keep our oceans clean and protect sea life by supporting local initiatives and partnerships.

Gazing out across Circular Quay during 2019 Vivid Sydney are seven giant ocean sentinels. They’re hard to miss, and so they should be. Each one represents a Pacific Island warrior spirit belonging to communities that are being directly impacted by plastic waste.

Yowa (Little) Tern

The little tern is an important totem of the Gumbaynggir people in the Coffs Harbour region of NSW, Australia. Made in collaboration with YOWA.

“There are amazing communities and societies across the Pacific, including the Australian coastline, that are really being impacted right now by climate change,” said artist Selena Griffith.

Tugpa

The messenger and hero of the Eskaya people of Bohol Island, Philippines. Made in collaboration with Rojo Balane.

Made from 100% recycled and recyclable materials the Ocean Sentinels were created with Jeremy Sheehan of the Small Ocean Collaboration along with 11 international artists. To create the seven sentinels, Selena and Jeremy produced 279 individual pieces using six 3D printers, individually joined them, assembled lighting and mounted them on plinths.

Kesoku

A protective bird figure from Honiara, Solomon Islands. Made in collaboration with Menzy Meani.

When seeking a sponsor for ‘Ocean Sentinels,’ Selena said Coca-Cola Australia was a good fit as it has “been doing some really interesting innovation around the materials that they use, and recycling of the packaging products that they have.”

“There's a lot of parallels in the fact that we're very interested in recycling and reuse, and Coca-Cola as a global organisation is innovating and working very hard at the sustainability level to reduce their impact and the impact of their consumers,” Selena said.

By the end of 2019, 70 per cent of the plastic bottles Coca-Cola manufactures in Australia will be made entirely from recycled plastic.  

“We’re making big changes to the way we design and manufacture our packaging using more recycled content, but we’re also committed to raising awareness about recycling and keeping our oceans clean, and our collaborations are critical to this,” said Anna Dear, public affairs and sustainability manager at Coca-Cola Australia.

“What we love about the Ocean Sentinels series is its commitment to using recycled materials, but also using such a strong and iconic platform like Vivid Sydney to help educate people about recycling and the issue of marine plastics in our region.”

Boathouse Totem

Protecting water communities in Koror, Palau. Made in collaboration with unknown artist and Belau National Museum.

As recycling and sustainability are key messages of her artworks, Selena hopes to educate consumers on the environmental impact of their consumption through using recycled plastic filament.

“Part of our mission is to use as much recycled material as possible, and to recycle as much as possible” Selena said.

Vanuatu TamTam

Based on the Ambrym drum which simulates the voices of ancestors in Efate/Ambrym Island, Vanuatu. Made in collaboration with Willie Koko.

“When you come to visit Vivid Sydney and the Ocean Sentinels, I'd love for you to have a look at the message that we have around recycling, being more responsible consumers, and reducing your plastics usage,” Selena said.

Kirivina

From Kirivina, one of the Trobriand Islands of Papua New Guinea. Made in collaboration with Robert Kweva Kaluluwa.

“I'd also love you to explore all the different cultures that our work represents, and to think about each of those different communities, how they communicate, and the impact that our consumption has on them,” she said.

Female Nukuoro Figure

The resting place of gods or ancestor spirits during the harvest season in Nukuoro Atoll, Federated States of Micronesia. Made in collaboration with unknown artist with permission from the Dept. of Resources and Development, Pohnpei State Government Kolonia Pohnpei FSM

Check out the beautiful Ocean Sentinels during 2019 Vivid Sydney, 24 May - 15 Jun.