Artist Beverly Barkat creates a globe from miles of plastic waste

Jerusalem artist Beverly Barkat’s “Earth Poetica,” a four-meter-tall (13-foot) globe made from plastic waste, rises majestically at the Gottesman Family Israel Aquarium, a shimmering sphere adorned with food packaging, bags and bottles molded in resin, a powerful reminder of the amount of waste that litters the planet.

“I wanted a nice piece of jewelry from the outside,” Barkat said, standing in front of his artwork on Sunday morning. “It’s beautiful, but it’s about garbage.”

Looking up, the towering globe offers a stained glass appearance, the colorful plastic waste encased in transparent resin, framed by metal panels and an interior bamboo structure.

Several windows placed along the perimeter of the globe give viewers a helpful glimpse of the interior, with the clusters of plastic wrappers, fishing nets and bottles providing a powerful reminder of what creates the dazzling beauty of the outside.

Barkat’s work was commissioned for the lobby of a building in the new World Trade Center complex overlooking Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan, with this first six-month stint at the Jerusalem Aquarium before moving to New York. .

“Showing it here is important because I am Israeli, I live here and I love Israel,” said South African-born Barkat, who moved to Israel as a child and is married to Nir Barkat, the former mayor of Jerusalem seen as a favorite to succeed former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as head of the Likud party.

The Jerusalem Aquarium is developing school programs to accompany Earth Poetica with its accompanying panels and video that explain Barkat’s working process.

Barkat began working on Earth Poetica several years ago, collecting his own trash from near and far, then, with the onset of the pandemic, received packages and boxes of trash from friends and community members. family living in more remote places.

Plastics became Barkat’s palette, she said, helping her create the story she wanted to tell.

Signs displaying examples of plastics divided by color and type – from frozen food bags and soda bottles to candy wrappers and potato chip bags – hang on the walls of the aquarium’s lobby.

Artist Beverly Barkat works on her latest work, ‘Earth Poetica,’ installed at the Jerusalem Aquarium on February 6, 2022. (Courtesy Leopold Chen)

As Barkat began to formulate her plan for her plastic planet Earth, she sought out different shades and colors to represent the oceans and seas, mountains and landmass of the globe, such as a particular shade of dark green from bottles of Australian sparkling water that she used to represent Egypt. The Nile.

“It’s a lot of meticulous craftsmanship that creates a sphere,” she said.

While Barkat was launching her Earth Poetica, she also spent a lot of time turning over world maps and scanning Google Earth to learn the geographical aspects of the universe.

“I also had to build on what I knew,” she said. “Each continent has this very personal feeling that I have for them.”

On a more technical level, Barkat worked with engineer and blacksmith Yuval Telem to create the globe’s metal sphere of 18 frames and 10 other interior frames, for a total of 180 frames that were moved to his two-story studio in Jerusalem. while she painted and cured her plastics.

The addition of the internal bamboo frame goes from one metal structure to another, mimicking nature, she said.

“It’s the land that tells if we don’t change our behavior, we’ll cover ourselves in plastic,” Barkat said. “We need to invest energy and different leadership to turn things around.”

The climate crisis and responsible journalism

As an environmental reporter for The Times of Israel, I try to convey the facts and science behind climate change and environmental degradation, explain – and critique – official policies affecting our future, and describe the Israeli technologies that can be part of the solution.

I am passionate about the natural world and discouraged by the dismal lack of awareness of environmental issues shown by most of the public and politicians in Israel.

I am proud to do my part to keep The Times of Israel readers properly informed on this vital subject – which can and does lead to policy change.

Your support, through your membership in The Times of Israel community, allows us to continue our important work. Would you like to join our community today?

Thank you,

Sue SurkesEnvironment journalist

Join the Times of Israel community Join our community Already a member? Log in to stop seeing this

Are you serious. We appreciate that!

That’s why we come to work every day – to provide discerning readers like you with unmissable coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other media, we don’t have a paywall in place. But since the journalism we do is expensive, we invite readers to whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel community.

For just $6 a month, you can help support our quality journalism while benefiting from The Times of Israel WITHOUT ADVERTISINGas well as access to exclusive content available only to members of the Times of Israel community.

Join our community Join our community Already a member? Log in to stop seeing this

Bryce K. Locke