New York City is home to many creators and artists who put their intelligence and passion into their work. If they are talented enough, these creators can display their work in any number of New York City’s art galleries.
The Van Der Plas Gallery is one such gallery. Founded by Adriaan Van Der Plas in 1992, the gallery has played host to a wide range of exceptionally talented emerging artists. With that said, the Van Der Plas Gallery recently featured an exceptionally unique photo exhibition from a multi-talented creator. Specifically, on December 10, 2019, the gallery featured an exhibition from internationally known fashion model Ria Serebryakova called “The 2084.” The photo exhibition, which moved the hundreds of people in attendance, highlighted the problem of plastic pollution in our world.
Even though many fashion models and individuals in the public eye forego the chance to become a public activist, Ria Serebryakova chose a different path. For that, all of us should thank her.
“The 2084”: Bringing Attention to a Widespread Problem
“The 2084” is an emotional, thought-inducing work that makes all of us question our role in curbing global plastic pollution. While you may have an intuitive understanding of the problem, the statistics are troubling. There are trillions of tons of plastic floating through our planet’s oceans. In one study, researchers studying the problem of plastic pollution found plastic in 100 percent of marine turtles, 59 percent of whales, 36 percent of seals, and 40 percent of seabird species examined. While you may quibble with the fact that this is one study, the general consensus is that plastic pollution is changing the planet as we know it.
It is with this background that Ria created “The 2084.” The name of the photo exhibition is inspired by the classic dystopian novel 1984. According to the description of the exhibition, “The 2084” tells the story of our future if we do not solve the problem of plastic pollution. Yes, the fact that plastic is everywhere shows that it is inherently valuable to our society. Without plastic, we would experience poorer and more difficult lives. But putting that fact aside, the way we handle and dispose of our plastic is what causes a large part of the damage.
Earth self-corrects and will eventually heal the damage. The issue, however? It will take millennia. Therefore, Ria’s message is timely and relevant. It is in humanity’s interest to act as quickly as possible to develop a long-term solution to the problem. As the well-known Chinese proverb states, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
A One-of-a-Kind Artist
So who is the artist behind this stellar photo exhibition? Ria Serebryakova is a New York City-based fashion model who has walked runways throughout the world. Growing up in Russia, Ria found her big break when she walked the runway at Paris Fashion Week for Miu Miu.
Since that seminal moment, Ria Serebryakova has achieved widespread praise for her style, sophistication, and skill as a fashion model. In her young career, she has obtained everything from appearances in Harper’s Bazaar, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times to proudly representing brands like Ray-Ban, L’Oreal, Tory Burch, Forever 21, and Dolce & Gabbana.
Throughout her career in fashion, Ria ensures that she is doing everything possible to best represent her clients. It is this passion and sense of responsibility that she applied to “The 2084.” Working with her team, Ria wanted to apply a nuanced approach to a complex problem. Yes, she recognizes that plastic is a vital material in today’s society, but she doesn’t let that exonerate those of us who fail to properly dispose of plastic. Her intention wasn’t to shame or insult her audience; rather, it was to ignite a fire in the viewer so that he or she feels inspired to work on the problem.
Like other environmental problems, the issue of plastic pollution runs into a collective action problem. It is a problem that all of us face, yet the incentives for individuals to address that issue are not that strong. Nevertheless, Ria’s work in “The 2084” went a long way in inspiring the attendees to take action. With time running out, it is a message worth echoing.