Grace Emily Manning ︎

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Cetus, Belly Of The Whale


A short film in production. Documenting the process and artistic reflection around the creation of a large Public Sculpture, Cetus, an eight meter long sculture of a Humpback Whale woven with Ghost Gear, the most harmful form of marine debris, cleaned from the local beaches by Beach Guardian CIC and their volunteers in Padstow, Cornwall. 



The 31st of October is the beginning of Samhain and the start of winter, when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest. On this date in 2020 artists Grace Emily Manning and Andrew Whittle traveled to Padstow in Cornwall to visit Beach Guardian and begin the weaving and enchantment of Cetus. To find them both on land and written in the stars. 

Cetus, Belly Of The Whale untangles the problem of plastic pollution along the ancient British coastline of North Cornwall, exploring how landscape and humans can become interwoven through the magic of Art.

A tale of plastic, magic, the Atlantic, weaving worlds, apples and changing states. Animating a journey through The Belly Of The Whale, a mythical otherworld which is a metaphorical space of metamorphosis where ingestion and rebirth takes place, symbolic of the Artists' process.

Marine Biologist Emily Stevenson and her father Rob Stevenson, the founders of Beach Guardian, tell a local story about a global and cosmic environmental issue, describing the harmful effects Ghost Gear and Microplastics are having on our seas, marine life and all organisms including ourselves.

Together Beach Guardians and the Artists extract the political issues imbued in the plastic objects they collect; debris from industrial fishing vessels and other waste products symbolic of capitalism that are kept from haunting our waters by the collective power of a community that works together like the tide.

With plastic Ghost Gear drawn from the Atlantic the Artists weave together with the local community to complete the sculpture and rebirth the whale as Cetus, a monument to our plastic oceans, the interwoven nature of all and the role art has to play in the cycle of conservation on the Cornish coast.

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Workshops with Wadebridge High School
At Trevisker Garden Centre

Padstow, Cornwall October 2020

Hosted with Beach Guardian charity, developed and co-facilitated with Andrew Whittle