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Parley for the Oceans Makes a Splash at Hong Kong Art Basel 2024 with Sustainable Initiatives

Parley for the Oceans, a pioneering environmental organization, has made a significant impact at this year's Hong Kong Art Basel with its innovative approach to combating plastic pollution and promoting sustainability. In an exclusive interview with Sara Jaurequi, a representative from Parley, we delved into the organization's mission, its partnership with Art Basel, and the role of art in environmental advocacy.



A Decade of Dedication to the Oceans

Parley for the Oceans was founded 11 years ago, inspired by a chance encounter at Art Basel in Basel. The organization's CEO, Cyrill Gutsch, learned about the plight of the oceans through Captain Paul Watson, co-founder of Greenpeace and founder of Sea Shepherd. This revelation led to the creation of Parley, with a mission to address the critical issue of plastic pollution in our oceans.


The organization's first symbol of change was a partnership with Adidas to create a shoe made from upcycled plastic material and fishnets. This collaboration marked the beginning of Parley's global cleanup network, which now spans over 32 countries. Parley's efforts encompass not only collecting plastics but also educating, researching, and innovating in the field of material science to turn the collected plastic into usable products.


Art as a Vehicle for Environmental Change

Art is a vital component of Parley's mission, acting as a conduit to engage communities that might not typically focus on environmental issues. Renowned artists such as Julian Schnabel, Ed Ruscha, Jenny Holzer, and others have collaborated with Parley to produce works that raise awareness and encourage action. At Art Basel, Parley showcases its sustainable products, including artist tote bags made from ocean plastic, as symbols of change. These products demonstrate how sustainable practices can be stylishly and practically integrated into everyday life, helping to spread the message of ocean conservation and the need to reduce plastic waste.


In a significant extension of their eco-conscious portfolio in 2022, Parley unveiled a series of artist edition surfboards, a venture that saw the collaboration with renowned artists such as Katharina Grosse and Kenny Scharf. These surfboards symbolize the harmonious merger between the realms of art and surfing, promoting the principles of eco-innovation, imagination, and cooperative effort in safeguarding marine ecosystems.



Deepening the Connection with Art Basel

The partnership between Parley and Art Basel is a natural extension of Parley's origins in the art world. Art Basel's global prestige and influence provide a perfect platform for Parley to convey its urgent message of ocean conservation and the fight against plastic pollution. By intertwining Parley's mission with Art Basel's diverse and dynamic programming, the collaboration aims to inspire a wide audience, including artists, collectors, galleries, and more, to recognize the crucial role the art world can play in driving societal change toward sustainability.


At Hong Kong Art Basel 2024, Parley is presenting its initiatives for the first time, showcasing artist collaboration tote bags and sunglasses made from ocean plastic. Additionally, the organization is conducting guided tours that highlight artworks focused on the theme of sustainability.


As Parley for the Oceans leaves its mark on Hong Kong Art Basel 2024, the message is clear: through collaboration, innovation, and the transformative power of art, we can inspire action and make a tangible impact on the health of our planet.


Parley for the Oceans

Photographer: Felix Wong

IG: @felixscimagery


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