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Alejandro Durán    

Artist Who Collects Trash From the Oceans and Turns It Into Disquieting Works of Art

Alejandro Durán collects the international trash washing up on the Caribbean coast of Mexico and transforms it into aesthetic yet disquieting works of art that wake us to the threat of plastic pollution.

His outdoor exhibition, the Museum of Garbage, has showcased the photographs and installations of his project titled “Washed Up: Transforming a Trashed Landscape.” Through photography, installation and video, his work examines the fraught intersections of man and nature, revealing the pervasive impact of consumer culture on the natural world. Durán also engages audiences through environmental, community-based art-making and speaking engagements. As National Geographic’s Becky Harlan said, “A gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage site has a serious problem with ocean trash, and artist Alejandro Durán wants to inspire us into action.”

Born in Mexico City in 1974, Durán is now based between Brooklyn, New York and Sian Ka’an, México where he continues to gather trash for the project. He received an MA in Teaching from Tufts University and an MFA in poetry from the New School for Social Research. As an educator, Durán has taught youth and adult classes in photography and video at The Museum of Modern Art and The International Center of Photography. His media production company, Luma Projects, includes clients such as MoMA, Microsoft, UNICEF, and the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.

Durán received a 2019 Creative Capital Award, Art With Me Tulum’s Social Impact Award 2018 and was Hunter College’s Artist-in-Residence in 2014-15. His work has been featured at the Mt. Rokko International Photography Festival in Japan, the Fotografie Forum in Germany and Basta con la Plastica, Italy’s first Ocean Awareness Week. “Washed Up” has been published in National Geographic, Time, and The Huffington Post as well as the books Art & Ecology Now, Unexpected Art and Photo Viz, among others.

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