Bordalo II: The man and ideals behind New Bedford’s new Plastic Rooster sculpture

Bordalo II: The man and ideals behind New Bedford’s new Plastic Rooster sculpture

O Jornal, The Herald News, Published June 13, 2024
Full article HERE.

NEW BEDFORD – About 880 pounds of waste materials from the SouthCoast region were pieced together by world-renowned Portuguese street artist Bordalo II over the course of a week and a half to give shape to the newest public art exhibition in downtown New Bedford.

Broken garbage cans, car bumpers, shopping carriages, tires, construction helmets and cones, fruit boxes and even parts from a boat are some of the discarded materials he used to create the 15-foot tall colorful ‘Plastic Rooster’ sculpture to be unveiled June 14 at 11 a.m. on the green space of the New Bedford YMCA at Union Street and North 2nd Street.

“We keep inventing,” said Bordalo II, while taking a short break so that Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School Welding Instructor Steve Flowers could weld the metal structure needed to support the rooster’s tail.

“We do this with a certain regularity, so there’s a lot of material that we already know… what’s good, what’s interesting, what’s going to be most useful,” added the Lisbon artist. “So, we make an estimate. Of course, when we arrive, there are always things that we remember and order extra.”

Commissioned as part of “TRANSFORM: Reduce, Revive, Reimagine,” a free public art series presented by the Massachusetts Design Art and Technology Institute (DATMA), ‘Plastic Rooster’ is the latest creation in Bordalo II’s ‘The Big Trash Animals’ series, which revolves around the representation of animals on a large scale, built almost exclusively with garbage with the aim of provoking a different look at our consumerist habits.

“The idea is to build images of the victims, of the animals, with what destroys them -contamination, pollution, waste. All these things, these materials, can end up being the source of contamination of the place where they live, eventually leading them to disappear, become endangered and cease to exist,” Bordalo II said. “The idea is to make a portrait of the victims with what destroys them. It’s almost as if we were making portraits of children who die in war with empty bullets.”

Since he introduced ‘The Big Trash Animals’ series about ten years ago, Boardalo II has created more than 300 animal murals and sculptures, which can be found all over the world. In the United States, there are about 20 scattered in places like Miami, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, and El Paso.