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Artist turns waste into sculpture in protest of ‘excessive’ plastic use

By Rayya Al Muheisen - Jul 28,2022 - Last updated at Jul 28,2022

Maria Nissan’s black iris sculpture on display at the Boulevard in Amman (Photo courtesy of Maria Nissan)

AMMAN — Environmental artist Maria Nissan is fighting against single-use plastics in Jordan by turning plastic waste into art. 

In collaboration with the Amman International Film Festival (AIFF), which concluded on Wednesday, Nissan created a black iris sculpture from fully recycled materials. 

The sculpture is currently on display at the Boulevard in Amman. 

“I used 247 plastic bags, 186 CDs, 98 plastic bottles and 24 shisha pipes for making the black iris,” Nissan told The Jordan Times. 

Nissan said that she gathered all the materials for the project: “I collected, sorted and up-cycled trash materials to make this beautiful piece.”

The main goal of the project is to raise awareness of the “excessive consumption of single-use plastics”, she said. 

Nissan noted that plastic waste pollution can be compared to the Kingdom’s water shortage issues. “It’s no one’s responsibility until it becomes everyone’s problem,” she stated.  

She added that plastic trash has impacted several “essential economic sectors” in Jordan, such as the agriculture and tourism sectors. 

“Agricultural fields are scattered with plastics, and touristic sites are disfigured by bottles,” she said.  

She drew importance to taking sustainability action, adding that completely eliminating plastic “is almost impossible” because “it’s cheap to produce, durable, designable, lightweight and easily sterilisable”.

“The main issue is excessive and unnecessary single-use plastic bags,” she noted. 

Over three billion plastic bags are used every year, Nissan said, which shows “the scale of the plastic crisis in Jordan”. 

Nissan added that she advocates for more responsible behaviours towards what people buy and how they dispose of it.

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