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Benny the whale sculpture made from junk to go on show

PUBLISHED: 17:00 30 May 2019

Amy with the outline of her Benny the whale sculpture which will now be covered in plastic bottles to highlight ocean pollution. Picture: Amy West

Amy with the outline of her Benny the whale sculpture which will now be covered in plastic bottles to highlight ocean pollution. Picture: Amy West

Archant

The plight of Benny the whale and the horrors of human pollution of the oceans have come together for an artist to create a life size sculpture of the Thames creature made of rubbish.

An impression of what Benny the whale will look like. Picture: Amy WestAn impression of what Benny the whale will look like. Picture: Amy West

It is the work of Gravesend artist Amy West.

She is creating the emotional whale sculpture made from used plastic drinks bottles donated by the public to raise awareness of littering and recycling.

Benny the whale was spotted living in the Thames at Gravesend last year and has now gone.

The public will be able to help create the sculpture this summer at three public events in Gravesend, where they will work with professional artists to learn how to transform their drinks bottle into cladding on the framework of the sculpture.

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More than one hundred of plastic bottles have been donated to the project led by local artist Amy.

Amy, who has created work for Glastonbury, The Lord Mayor Of London's annual parade and theatre sets has enlisted the skills of fellow artist Pablo Cattermole to help construct the internal framework for the sculpture, while mud-larker and artist Di Jones who is renowned for creating art from the litter she collects from the banks of the Thames in London is bringing her skills to the workshops this summer.

Amy said: "Benny made big impact on people from across the UK by living in the Thames locally, and we hope this project can help make a long-lasting impact too, by highlighting how important it is to keep the environment clean.

"So much litter ends up in the Thames, and the shape and flow of the river means lots collects both in Gravesham and in Swanscombe too from further afield."

The three and a half metre sculpture is the same size as a male Beluga whale.

It will first go on display to the public at the Fusion Festival on the June 15 where people can see the frame work for the sculpture, meet the artist and donate their bottles.

She said it is hoped the sculpture will raise people's awareness not to litter and reduce the levels of single-use plastic.

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