Below a Spanish castle

On the Spanish/Portuguese river border in the far north east of the Algarve, there’s a Portuguese officer watching out for smugglers. The Rio Guadiana may look quiet between Alcoutim and Sanlúcar de Guadiana but this was once a popular route for smugglers. The Portuguese took coffee and sugar and traded it for fabrics from Spain.

These days there are no smugglers, but there is a great festival every March celebrating the days of contraband, and since November 2020 the Portuguese officer has something to observe on the banks of the Guadiana – below him is Lontra.

This giant otter made entirely of waste plastic was created by the brilliant Portuguese artist Bordalo II. Lontra is one of 195 Big Trash Animal sculptures he has created, and I am sure there will be more given the amount of plastic we continue to create and the number of animals that are killed from consuming our plastic waste every year.

Every time all of us see one of his Big Trash Animals, whether that’s in person or photographs, he hopes we will all take another look at our use of plastic. The council in Alcoutim does seem to have missed the point though! Take a closer look at the picture below.

Yup that’s a bin with a single use plastic lining right below the otter. Ironic I thought. Posted as part of Debbie’s One Word Sunday – Below.

Author: BeckyB

It had been a good life walking, cooking, photographing, volunteering, blogging, and best of all spending time with MrB, family, & friends. Sadly it no longer is. Suddenly and unexpectedly I have become a widow.

23 thoughts

  1. What a creative, colorful use of trash! The white homes remind me of Mykonos, not in style but in whiteness. It’s discouraging to me that our city has cut back on what can be recycled, including not taking glass anymore. It evidently costs them more than they take in but who would ever have thought glass wouldn’t be recycled?

  2. I love the otter, although at first glance I thought it was a cat 🙂 The bin is rather ironic though. The artist’s name rang a bell, couldn’t place it at first then I remembered seeing the remains of one of his creations in Dublin two years ago – this is what I wrote on my blog at the time :

    ”On the side wall of the building was the outline of what had once been a work of street art. Created by Portuguese artist Bordalo II it was a red squirrel and had been made up of different items of trash, including an old bike, found in and around the city. Unfortunately it fell foul of Dublin council’s drive to build as many new hotels and office blocks in as many derelict or run down parcels of land as possible and it had to be removed, although nothing has been built there yet.”

    I wish I’d seen that one before it was removed, if your otter is an example it must have looked pretty good 🙂

    1. Hee hee I thought it was a cat too initially, and I knew it was meant to be an otter!!

      How sad the Council destroyed it, again very ironic.

  3. Oh Becky, this is wonderful. I just love the officer keeping watch and then; he is keeping watch over garbage. The lined bin just topped the Pao de Lo 🙂

  4. Heading up that way this morning to a Christmas fair at Odeleite. I’l keep my eye open for plastics. Unfortunately they’re not hard to spot, are they?

  5. A great look back at our history – smugglers and plastic users. I don’t think we’ll be celebrating the latter. I love Bordalo’s work – and I even found a square named after him in Lisbon.

    1. Definitely not celebrating the latter but like uou always happy to see his work. Was so excited that one had finally appeared in the Algarve.

  6. Marvellous plastic creations from that Portuguese sculptor. He’ll make somebody stop and think, if not the town council. And isn’t it odd how smugglers have now become swashbuckling folk heroes worthy of festivals? A lovely post on a stormy Sunday.

    1. PS just been reading about 79,000 metric tons of plastic floating in a region over 610,000 square miles. And that’s just one patch 😳

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