One of the most influential ways to engage large groups of people with big issues is through artwork. This week, artist eXXpedition Ambassadors Nikkey Dawn and Claire McCluskey helped us to learn more about their practice and how art can be used to create change. You can see some of their creative work below. This is part of a series of events led by members of our community for members of our community in our SHiFT Community Hub.

Meet our panellists 

Nikkey Dawn – eXXpedition North Pacific 2018 – Leg 2

Nikkey Dawn is a watercolour and graphic artist. She uses her art to bring awareness to environmental issues and start conversations. She draws her inspiration from the ocean and the misty, temperate rainforest of the island she calls home.

Claire McCluskey – eXXpedition Round the World 2019-2020 – Leg 7

Claire McCluskey is an arts worker based in Dublin, Ireland. She has a BFA in Fine Art from Technological University Dublin, and an MFA in Digital Art from the National College of Art & Design. Claire’s practice encompasses a variety of media, from image making to sculpture and large scale installation; primarily exploring the dynamic between individual and collective. Structure and repetition are important elements within her work, as a means to mediate on larger, global systems. In addition to her Fine Art practice, Claire works as a technician and fabricator, and lectures part time at the National College of Art & Design. 

Gallery installation titled ‘Offer’, 2015. Lights are suspended over a pool of water, to create the illusion of a sphere that continues through the reflection. 

Award pieces, created for CleanEquity Monaco 2021 sustainability technology conference: these kaleidoscopic sculptures are made from recycled mirror and sustainable, fully traceable wood sourced from the Lisnavagh Timber Project. Each piece is marked with a unique log number, so the owner can download a report detailing the specific tree it came from, how it came down, and what it was replaced with.

Other artist ambassadors within our community 

Candy Medusa – eXXpedition Caribbean 2016 and eXXpedition Round the World 2019-2020 – Leg 6

Candy Medusa is an artist, illustrator, marine biologist and loudmouth, constantly confused as to why bios are supposed to be in the third person. Specialising in mixed media and upcycling, she draws much of her inspiration from nature and is passionate about the environment. She mostly makes art between midnight and 4am when the kids are asleep.

Candy has exhibited locally, nationally and internationally, including with the Royal Society of Marine Artists at Mall Galleries in London, and with Creative Action Network in America and Bahrain. She was also resident artist aboard the Sea Dragon in the Caribbean.

Candy is the founder of the eXXhibition project, raising awareness of plastic pollution, organising beach cleans and workshops, and upcycling beach litter into art. 

A gallery display of Candy Medusa’s marine art created using upcycled plastics collected on beach cleans – seeing that close up these pieces are made from straws, balloons, packaging, plastic bags and so on, is a great way of starting a conversation about single-use. 

A hermit crab sculpture by Candy Medusa, created using upcycled marine plastic pollution collected on beach cleans.

Lula Gil – eXXpedition Virtual Voyage South Africa 2021

Lula Gil is an architect, artist, and environmental activist from Buenos Aires, Argentina. She learned to love the ocean from Paddleboarding, the discipline that opened her eyes and made her conscious about the health of the ocean and the impact that our consuming habits have over it. 

She founded Water Journey, a movement communicating sustainability through art and water sports. Her art consists in transforming plastic waste she finds at Rio de la Plata River, into pieces of art to raise awareness about the plastic pollution affecting the seas and inspire people to connect with Mother Nature through their habits. For her, art evokes sensitivity and helps to understand this topic from an intimate perspective.

When she is not in the City working you will find her surfing at Chapa or Uruguay or traveling to the mountains to hike and ski. Her connection to nature is what drives her life’s purpose. 

Pantone is a piece created in 2020 from white plastics Lula found at Rio the la Plata River, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Contrasting colours was the tool Lula used to create impact and show the pieces of plastic as precious and delicate items to be contemplated.

Maui Dolphin bottle is made out of plastics from Maui’s pristine beaches, they help Lula to create a conversation between the traditional single use plastic bottle, marine mammals and the ocean. In this conversation, who is out of place?

More about SHiFT Hub Events

eXXpedition runs regular events for our community and beyond. Keep an eye on our social channels for updates on upcoming public events, and browse our blog to find out the highlights of our community events and keep up with eXXpedition news.

Thank you to 11th Hour Racing who are supporting this work.