Historic Nantwich landmark to host Keele’s plastic waste art exhibition

A unique exhibition by Keele University featuring artworks made of waste plastics will go on display at a historic South Cheshire church this month.

The Subversive Plasticity exhibition, which has been featured in the art gallery at Keele University, will go on display at St Mary’s Church in Nantwich between June 23rd and 29th, in partnership with the local grassroots campaign Plastic Free Nantwich.

The exhibition aims to change the way we view our relationship with plastic materials. It will open to the public officially on June 23rd with art-making workshops for local school children being held at the church June 24th. Visitors can then see the artworks at the church for the rest of the week, until the exhibition is removed on Saturday June 29th.

The exhibition is going on display thanks to a partnership between Keele University’s ArtsKeele and Plastic Free Nantwich.

Two of the works which focus on marine themes - the Net and the Reef - will also be displayed in a way that allows visitors at the opening and schoolchildren attending workshops to add their own plastic art pieces.

Dr Deirdre McKay from Keele University said: “Filling a medieval church with art made from waste looks amazing! The church - its stone, wood, wrought iron and glass – represents centuries of faith. Contrast that with the plastics that end up in our oceans, which seem cheerful and flimsy but are also durable, taking centuries to break up and endangering wildlife and contaminating food. Plastic has a legacy, too.”

Emilie Janman, Plastic Free Nantwich Co-ordinator said: "It's brilliant to see Keele University and B-Arts working with people in Nantwich to highlight this critical issue. The exhibition will really get people thinking, contrasting the sublime beauty, carved from wood and stone, of the Cathedral of South Cheshire, with the throw away nightmare of plastic choking the modern world. The church is all about community and connectivity - the opposite of the atomised, isolated, consumer fantasy that is eating our planet and our common future."

The Revd Dr Mark Hart, Rector of Nantwich, added: "St Mary's Church was built to last, as a sign of what endures, so it is appropriate that its magnificent space can be used to highlight the damage caused by single-use disposable plastic."