These penguins pack a punch

The penguins on auction.

A group of plastic penguins will provide an ominous glimpse into the future when they go on auction by Stephan Welz & Co on Tuesday October 10. The artwork is estimated to fetch between R25 000 to R60 000.

The penguins, with plastic water bottles strapped to their backs, are the work of Belgian-born artist William Sweetlove. His recent Water Wars exhibition in South Africa focused on the water-scarcity crisis and hotter, drier conditions induced by climate change.

After successive poor winter rains dam levels have declined from 73% in 2015 to 34% in 2017. Sculpted from recycled plastic, Sweetlove’s toy-like penguins and their water bottles symbolise not only the acuteness of shortages of drinking water but the impact of plastic pollution on precious natural resources.

“A world without plastic is no longer possible,” Sweetlove says in a video made to coincide with his Water Wars exhibition. “Everything made of plastic can be recycled. The problem isn’t plastic itself but the fact that people burn it or throw it into the sea. If pollution continues this way, it is possible we will not have life in the oceans.”

The auction takes place at the Great Cellar, Alphen Estate, Constantia, on Wednesday and Thursday October 10 and 11, viewing from Friday October 6 to Sunday October 8 from 10am to 5pm.