Giant fish art installation catches the attention of Swanage beachgoers

With great panache, local artist Eilidh Middleton kayaked from Swanage Pier to Main Beach towing her fish art installation behind her, to deliver a message to half term holiday makers about the tragic consequences of overfishing our seas.

Creating quite a stir, the impressive fish artwork, made up of lots of little fish, was dragged across the bay, reminiscent of a shoal of fish caught in a net.

The Disappearing Fish installation being towed by a kayak across Swanage Bay

Third in a series of artworks

This is the third in a series of artworks that Eilidh has created, starting in lockdown with the ‘Dorset Steer’ – a white ox that appeared on the hillside overlooking Corfe Castle and was very much of the land.

The second ‘Shapes of Matter’ was made up of the offcuts from the first project, that was then hung up in a forest to make the shapes appear to fly through the air.

The Disappearing Fish installation towed across Swanage Bay

Made from four sheets of shuttering ply and galvanised steel wire

The final installation on the theme of the sea, entitled ‘The Disappearing Fish’ completes the trilogy. They were all made from four sheets of shuttering ply and galvanised steel wire, with bits reused for the subsequent project to embody the principles of recycling and sustainability.

Eilidh, who lives in Church Knowle near Swanage, is passionate about excessive consumerism and its resulting waste.

The Disappearing Fish installation at Swanage Beach
The Disappearing Fish installation at Swanage Beach

“Be picky about what you buy!”

She said:

“As our planet suffers from pollution and our wildlife is being annihilated species by species I want to do what I can to deliver clear messages to the public.

“Overfishing is something I believe we can all do something about by not only setting up marine reserves but by policing them effectively. By making intelligent choices on the type of fish we eat and where they come from and by also lobbying government.

“Don’t stop eating fish but use local shops and fishmongers who can tell you where the fish comes from. If you do go to a supermarket, look at the label and check that it’s from a sustainable source. Just be curious and be picky about what you buy!”

Disappearing Fish installation illuminated on the Mowlem
Disappearing Fish installation illuminated on the wall of the Mowlem

Illuminated at night

The pop up art installation was displayed on the beach on Monday 26th October 2020 and then taken to The Mowlem where it has been hung up on the wall. It will stay there for a few days and will be illuminated at night.

Eilidh added:

“In just over 40 years there has been a recorded decrease of marine species by 39 per cent. Almost 30 percent of fish stocks commercially fished are overfished. I believe art can reach the public, educate, change minds and be a force of action.”

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