Behind New York City's glamorous facades are streets lined with garbage and a thriving ecosystem of competing scavengers; maggots and cockroaches; mice and men. This is in contrast to realities in which poverty looks like scarcity. Where food is valued, plastic items are kept and reused, and in contexts of war, hunger is weaponized.
With this work, I examine the seductive nature of consumerism and food waste through still lives. The lure of convenience culture and the contradictions of excess, waste, and poverty. The ease with which food can be discarded, while conversely, access to food can be a matter of death.
According to a 2021 UNEP report, consumers in rich countries continue to waste as much food as the entire net food production of sub-Sarahan Africa. Retailers waste large amounts of food simply to maintain product appearance. Furthermeore, the USA, with only 4.6% of the global population, produces one-third of the world’s solid waste. 80% of products are used once just to be thrown away. And in New York City, residents are only recycling 17% of their total waste.