Beware! Mutant fish are taking over Gates Park in Port Coquitlam.
In the form of whimsical sculptures made of trash, the fish are the creation of environmental artists and former Port Coquitlam artists-in-residence Dolores Altin and Elvira DS González, in partnership with the Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable and the City of Port Coquitlam.
On March 30, the artists, along with supporters, erected the sculptures near the Gates Park arch.
Made of plastic litter and bicycle wheels found along the Coquitlam River during a clean-up last fall, the sculpture is a reminder to do your part to keep the river clean and free of garbage.
"One of the strategies for action with the lower Coquitlam River watershed plan is to deal with littering and illegal practices in the watershed and through 2021 into this year the roundtable wanted to further their action," explained Margaret Birch, interim roundtable coordinator.
"We thought, 'Let’s engage some artists to illustrate the impact the litter has on the watershed health of the river, wildlife, habitat and community.'"
The Coquitlam River has all too often become a dumping ground for trash and historical construction waste, and it even suffered from illegal gravel mining.
Park litter is also sometimes dumped when garbage bins are overflowing.
Now, though, the roundtable, which represents agencies concerned about the river, is hoping to get people to think twice before they dump their junk.
Birch said the autumn clean up resulted in bags of litter and dozens of larger items, including tires and bicycle wheels.
Altin and González sorted some of the trash and took it home to turn into an art project.
The two are multi-media artists who have combined their talents and backgrounds to form a collaborative art practice where natural and man-made materials collide to create interesting ideas.
Last summer, the artistic duo dressed up trees in Lions Park based on the idea that all trees and plants are linked through a secret social system below ground.