Expo 2020 Dubai: Portugal pavilion's plastic-pollution penguins highlight marine crisis

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Dubai - Installation of three colourful penguins is made entirely from ocean plastics


Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Mon 25 Oct 2021, 7:32 PM

The Portugal Pavilion celebrated the 500th anniversary of the first world circumnavigation at Expo 2020 on October 24, showcasing both the country’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals and its cultural diversity.

The pavilion inaugurated street-art sculpture Magellan Penguins, in homage to Portuguese explorer Fernão de Magalhães (Ferdinand Magellan), who led the first expedition around the globe from 1519-1522.

Signed by Portuguese artist Bordalo II, the installation of three colourful penguins is made entirely from ocean plastics – collected from the seas of countries covered by circumnavigation – to highlight the escalating plastic waste crisis and the global threat to our planet’s marine life.

Luís Castro Henriques, Portugal’s commissioner-general to Expo 2020 Dubai, said that the message they wanted to convey aligns with Expo 2020’s theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future while highlighting the role oceans have in connecting the world.

Henriques said, “Portugal is the world in one country. It is also a country that is open to the world, where anyone can live, visit, develop competitive business and forge friendships.”

The ceremony was also attended by Eurico Brilhante Dias, Portugal’s secretary of state for Internationalisation Affairs, and Joaquim Moreira de Lemos, Portugal's ambassador to the UAE.

Lemos said, “There is everything here today that I believe should be present at the Expo, from contemporary art with one of Portugal’s distinguished street artists, to the beautiful sounds of Lisbon. I felt magic this afternoon, and this is exactly what Expos should be about: magic, entertainment, enlightenment and delightfulness. I experienced the ‘wow’ factor in the Portugal Pavilion tonight.”

Plenty of connections have already been made at the Portugal Pavilion during the opening weeks of Expo 2020, with 47,000 people visiting the pavilion.

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