NMU student wins Stomp award

NMU student and performance artist Luke Rudman, front, dressed 10 models in outfits made from rubbish in a Greenpeace collaboration at NMU in August. Alexia Kalenga sits next to him as fellow models look on
NMU student and performance artist Luke Rudman, front, dressed 10 models in outfits made from rubbish in a Greenpeace collaboration at NMU in August. Alexia Kalenga sits next to him as fellow models look on
Image: EUGENE COETZEE

Nelson Mandela University student Luke Rudman, 19, who recently presented his artwork on the environmental impact of plastic at the Stomp Awards in Cape Town, has won the Adult Inspire Through Creativity category, beating two other finalists from Durban and Johannesburg.

He presented his 12 pollution monsters at the Commonwealth Litter Programme (Clip) conference on Wednesday and Thursday, receiving the award at the end of the two-day event.

The Stamp Out Marine Plastic Pollution awards recognise individuals and organisations who take action by helping to reduce marine plastic pollution in SA.

“This opens up a lot of platforms for me to continue to advocate for different social and environmental issues, especially seeing how art can bridge a gap between the [scientific] solutions offered in theory and people in action,” Rudman said.

The conference was attended by science, technology, engineering and mathematics leaders who gathered and engaged on possible scientific — and other —  solutions to the issue of plastic waste.

Rudman’s was among the few categories that recognised solutions and commentary from the creative arts  sector.

Luke Rudman’s The 12 Plastic Monsters, a performance art work that uses plastic waste to convey the horror of plastic...

Posted by Stomp Awards on Thursday, December 5, 2019

Judges said that they loved the entry as it was brilliantly creative and driven by a passion for the oceans, citing it as inspiring and unique.

The first year student is set to travel to Durban to receive training on ocean diving, an experience he anticipates will broaden his outlook on the ocean and inspire his future artworks.

In an attempt to raise awareness about plastic pollution, Rudman produced a jaw-dropping 12-piece performance artwork at NMU in August.

Twelve body-painted models transform into “plastic pollution monsters” by wearing items of plastic waste designed by Rudman, with each piece speaking to different types of plastic pollution.

He delivered the piece as a part of the university’s tributaries project, which put a spotlight on the human impact on water.

Rudman will be presenting his award-winning show at Port Elizabeth's opening of the season ceremony on December 16.

“What I’m trying to do with my art is to take issues that have been spoken about so often that they’ve become cliches, and reconstruct the awareness campaign in a way that will make people feel like they're seeing something new.

“People have become so desensitised to the issue of plastic pollution because the awareness campaigns are, sort of, repetitive,” Rudman said.

The artist said he planned to expand his work to comment on a wider range of social and environmental issues on bigger platforms.

The UK’s Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science’s Kyle Briggs said: “These creative ideas from the Stomp awards form part of Clip’s efforts in finding creative solutions to plastic waste.

“It sends a clear message that plastic pollution is not only confined to scientists or policymakers, and that anyone can innovate.”

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