Long before Blue Planet was aired on TV, the artist Kevin Dean was becoming increasingly concerned about the amount of plastic waste that was being washed up on the beach near his home in Southsea, Portsmouth. He began designing a large stainless steel fish sculpture, 6 metres long and based upon the sea bass, a species that is often caught in the Solent.
Named The BIG FISH, the sculpture’s belly would be partly exposed to reveal a typical range of plastic rubbish that could be collected from Southsea Beach. The concept was readily adopted by Portsmouth City council and several sites for siting The BIG FISH on Southsea Seafront were suggested.
However, Kevin began to realise the difficulties of funding such a project and the technical demands of building such a large structure. In 2017 Kevin met Rafael Klein an international sculptor with a track record of creating large public sculptures.
Together they have devised an exciting public engagement project and refined the methods required to build the sculpture. They have created partnerships with the University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth City council and Aspex Gallery Portsmouth.
In many ways the sculpture itself will be the final flourish of an extensive public engagement programme that seeks to support and add to the growing awareness of plastic waste in our seas.
Some funding has been raised, but more will be needed, however there has been so much support for the project that the artists are very optimistic about it being built and look forward to presenting The BIG FISH to the general public for the first time at The Portsmouth Seafood Festival on 30th June – 1st July.