It’s common knowledge that our oceans are suffocating because of our addiction to plastics. But there are some eco-warriors, like Austrian artist Andreas Franke, who are determined to bring more visual attention to the burgeoning issue, all in the name of saving our planet. Franke has recently installed Plastic Ocean, a project that saw 24 portraits of various people being drowned in a sea of plastic, submerged into the depths of the actual sea off the coast of Key West.

scuba diver swimming in front of underwater art exhibit

Although the world seems to be on board with reducing our plastic waste, the action to actually doing it is moving at a snail’s pace. To instigate change, Franke decided to create a series of portraits that depict various people being drowned by plastic objects.

Related: Recycled plastic art installation asserts that water is a human right in D.C.

scuba diver swimming in front of underwater art exhibit

scuba diver swimming in front of underwater art exhibit

Not only are the images provocative for their message about how our oceans are being converted into massive trash dumps, but the collection also features a series of generations. By using images of tiny babies, toddlers and adults, the message is clear: there is an urgency here that cannot be overlooked if we want to provide a safer world for the next generation.

diver swimming past an underwater portrait

underwater portrait

The underwater art exhibition was installed on the wreckage site of the USS Vandenberg off the coast of Key West, where divers from around the world were invited to check out the installation.

art depicting person being drowned by plastic waste

portrait of child drowning in plastic waste

The exhibition ran until late August. Now, the artworks are being prepared for a land-based exhibit (location to be announced). After four months at sea, the artwork is covered with a unique patina, which was left as-is to give visitors to the upcoming exhibition a small glimpse into the beauty of the ocean. Franke hopes this small detail, along with the installation’s overall message, will inspire people to do their part in helping the cause.

+ Andreas Franke

+ Plastic Ocean Gallery

Via Matador Network

Images via Plastic Ocean Gallery