Lonely Planet Writer

Your lost flip-flops could be part of this new thoughtful art installation in Bali

Visual art has the power to deliver important messages, often taking complex and serious issues and shining a light on them in new, creative ways. One such example is a brand new installation in place in Bali that saw an artist creating a vibrant, multi-coloured installation made up of over 5000 discarded flip-flops in order to raise awareness of ocean plastic waste.

5000 Lost Soles on display in Bali.
5,000 Lost Soles on display in Bali. Image by Potato Head Beach Club

Created by art activist Liina Klauss from Germany, the piece is entitled 5,000 Lost Soles, and is on display at Potato Head Beach Club near Seminyak, at the south end of Bali. The large-scale art artwork can be seen in place at the entrance to the beach club and aims to draw attention to the fact that millions of pairs of the synthetic shoes wash ashore around the globe every year. All of the flip-flops included in the installation have been salvaged from along the shores of Bali’s west coast, by a small team of helpers assembled by the artist to amass the collection in a series of six beach clean-ups. Following that, the artwork itself took weeks to construct.

A volunteer during a beach clean-up.
A volunteer during a beach clean-up. Image by Potato Head Beach Club

“I want to show people a different perspective on what we consider ‘rubbish’. Everything we throw away comes back to us, via the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the soil we grow crops and raise animals on. Flip-flops are just one example; there is potential within all these materials we waste and consider worthless,” said artist Liina Klauss.

Colourful pink shades of sandals. Image by Potato Head Beach Club

When it came to choosing a material for the project, Liina felt that sandals would serve as a good symbol to trigger a change in attitudes. “Flip-flops are worn directly on the body and for a long period of time. It is crucial to my art that people make a direct connection between marine pollution and their own daily lives. After all, it is not ’the others’, it is every single one of us who is causing the global plastic pollution,” Liina said. The rainbow-hued sculpture takes the form of an ocean wave, with a special frame being created from sustainably harvested bamboo, while a thread made from melted-down plastic bottle caps was used to attach the sandals.

The installation is on display at the beach club throughout the summer. Image by Potato Head Beach Club

The work will be available to view through the 2018 summer season.

More information on visiting the installation is available at the official Potato Head Beach Club website.