LONG before Blue Planet 2 captivated the nation, artist Kevin Dean had a plan to highlight the devastating impact of plastic waste.
That plan could now become a reality – as he seeks public backing for his sculpture, The Big Fish, which he will exhibit blueprints for at the Portsmouth Seafood Festival today.
Set to be made of six metres worth of marine-grade stainless steel and aluminium, it is hoped the figure will be sited along Southsea seafront by autumn 2020.
Its hollow, caged stomach will be filled with plastics typical of those left behind by revellers on Portsmouth beaches.
And it’s this sight which inspired Mr Dean to draw up designs for The Big Fish, which will be exhibited in Gunwharf Quays this weekend.
The Southsea-based artist, 58, said: ‘About four years ago, I became increasingly concerned about the amount of plastic waste that could be found on Southsea seafront.
‘I began to envisage a large sculpture of a local fish species – a sea bass – with its belly full of the typical plastic waste found on our beaches.
‘I took my designs to Portsmouth City Council and they were well received, but I had to find funding and I began to realise I needed more expertise to build the sculpture.’
With his immediate desire to create the work on hold, Mr Dean teamed up with Brooklyn-cum-London-based creative Rafael Klein – who he is liaising with in a bid to complete the project.
And the only thing now standing in its way is public engagement and funding.
Mr Dean said: ‘It will be a beautiful sculpture, a talking point and a focal point for events such as beach clean-ups.
‘Being at the Seafood Festival will be a good chance to gauge what people think.
‘But if anyone is interested in getting involved with this landmark project, either as an individual, or perhaps a teacher or business owner, we’d be pleased to hear from them.’
Having worked as an artist and illustrator all his adult life, Mr Dean has been involved with a number of projects at local schools.
But his ‘biggest and most distinguished commission’ was designing much of the marble decoration at The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, which attracts more than 5m visitors a year from across the world.
If you would like to get involved with The Big Fish project, email Kevin Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org