Spiny Seahorses and Ripping Yarns

New exhibition which highlights the issue of marine litter opens at Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery.

We are delighted to announce a new immersive marine litter exhibition in the Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery. The exhibition, titled Spiny Seahorses and Ripping Yarns, is the result of a collaboration with local environmental artist, Trudi Lloyd Williams. Trudi has been on a 12-year mission to raise awareness of the impact plastics have on the marine environment through art and community action.

Marine litter is a growing threat to our natural world. Tiny micro-plastics and tangles of deadly rubbish are polluting our beaches and choking our wildlife. Our wild creatures, from tiny crabs to majestic whales, suffer stomachs blocked with plastic and chemical-filled waters.

The new exhibition shines a spotlight on this key issue through art and interpretation, providing simple, achievable steps visitors can take to reduce everyday plastic consumption, improve ocean health, and support a Wilder Solent.

For the centrepiece of the installation, the Trust worked with Trudi and local communities to turn plastic litter typically found on our shores into an immersive sculpture, illuminated with special lighting to appear like the surface of the ocean. The piece is named after the spiny seahorses which call our local waters home, and the thrilling stories, or ‘ripping yarns’, told by sailors in traditional sea shanties.

Spiny Seahorses and Ripping Yarns is part of the Trust’s four-year Secrets of the Solent project, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Exhibition will be in Portsmouth until Spring 2022, open daily from 10-5. You can view the exhibition as part of the museum entrance which is free.

Trudi Lloyd Williams, Environmental Artist, commented:

“I created the sculpture to raise awareness and impart knowledge about the preciousness of our seas, particularly the seagrass meadows in the Solent, by focusing on the beautiful and mysterious world of the seahorse and our maritime history. The sculpture enables visitors to experience for themselves what it would be like to be underwater in years to come when plastic marine pollution will have choked our oceans.

“I hope that visitors to the sculpture come away realising that looking after our seagrass meadows and our oceans is hugely important and what every individual does at home cumulatively will have a dramatic impact on the health of our seas.”

Rachel Bryan, Project Manager for Secrets of the Solent at Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, said:

“It is vital to raise awareness of marine litter and the issues it causes for our seas. Working with Portsmouth Museum and artist Trudi Lloyd Williams has enabled us to create a fun and imaginative marine litter sculpture, alongside an exhibition that shows the scale of the problem and how every single one of us can play a role in reducing its impact. Making a commitment to swap just one household or single use plastic item with a reusable or recyclable alternative is a good start. Our collective efforts have a cumulative effect and help us support a Wilder Solent. What will your sustainable action be?”