Sharon Singer: Trash Fish : Dunedin Fringe Festival

Sharon Singer: Trash Fish

20 June - 8 July 2019

Sharon Singer: Trash Fish





It is estimated that three-quarters of the world’s fisheries are exploited or over fished. Each year, inefficient and destructive fishing practices kill millions of fish and other marine animals as unwanted bycatch. This is known in the industry as ‘trash fish.’ Poor management of fisheries exacerbated by climate change is the largest threat to ocean life and habitat, as well as effecting billions of workers and consumers. Conservation of precious oceanic resources is vital not only to preserving marine ecosystems, but to sustaining livelihoods. 

Trash Fish consists of hundreds of sardine cans peeled open and arranged in a modernist grid, their original contents emptied and forgotten. Part assemblage, part painting, small still-life studies of half eaten fish are delicately painted into the base of the cans, layered with oil paint and sealed in with damar and linseed oil. The recognisable manufactured object retains its identity within the work but is imbued with new meaning, with each miniscule fish permanently placed in a symbolic canned coffin. The tightly packed grid layout demonstrates the sheer number of marine life damaged by fisheries. In Trash Fish, the dead fish are quite literally packed like sardines.

Sharon Singer is a Britsh born Dunedin based artist. Her work is held in private and public collections in New Zealand and internationally. She has worked with fairy tales and myth as the subject of her paintings since 2000, invoking concerns such as narrative and meta-fictional awareness, feminist re-telling and fairy tale as popular culture. In more recent years her work has addressed the themes of climate change, the ocean’s spiritual meaning and consumer value, either as a vast mystery or a source of consumable resources. Underpinning all is an interest in the human condition in relationship to nature.




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Dunedin Fringe envisions a city ignited by creativity, where all people embrace art, culture and creativity into their daily lives.

We have a mission to provide platforms for creative expression that help nurture communities. We have a special focus on supporting emerging artists, and the development of new and experimental work.

We produce the Dunedin Fringe Festival, Amped Music Project and New Zealand Young Writers Festival annually, curate the White Box Gallery, and manage the performing arts venue Te Whare o Rukutia.

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Aotearoa New Zealand

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