Putting things into perspective (take #2)

Plastic spoons in the ground. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Plastic spoons in the ground. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Sometimes, the scale of an issue or problem can be so great that numbers become a bit meaningless.

I can visualise 500 grams of butter, or a 80kg person, but for a trip of 300km I’d probably have to draw a circle on a map to see where I might end up. And when I try to visualise 83,000 children going to school hungry, it becomes even more difficult. My son’s primary school had about 500 kids, so that’s 166 schools’ worth. But how many schools are there in Auckland? In New Zealand?

Auckland artist Donna Turtle Sarten works with large numbers. Her installation Strange Fruit (which I wrote about in Defining Nationhood) consisted of 3890 military dog tags  — one for each of the New Zealanders who served in the Vietnam War. Her latest work, Feed the Kids, sees 83,000 plastic spoons dug into the ground on the roadside at Te Atatu Peninsula. Each spoon represents a child in New Zealand who goes to school hungry according to a government report.

A different perspective; 83,000 spoons line the roadside in Donna Turtle Sarten's installation Feed the Kids; Harbourview Sculpture Trail, Te Atatu, Auckland. Photo: Su Leslie 2014

A different perspective; 83,000 spoons line the roadside in Donna Turtle Sarten’s installation Feed the Kids; Harbourview Sculpture Trail, Te Atatu, Auckland. Photo: Su Leslie 2014

Feed the Kids was created as part of the Harbourview Sculpture Trail 2014, on Auckland’s Te Atatu Peninsula (8-30 March 2014). The artist has said that although we see and hear poverty statistics quoted often, the numbers are so large that it’s difficult to actually make sense of them. Seeing 83,000 plastic spoons disappearing into the distance creates meaning  — it puts the problem of child poverty in New Zealand into perspective.

This post was written for the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge. You can find out more about that here. And here are some more posts on perspective that I’ve enjoyed:























20 thoughts on “Putting things into perspective (take #2)

  1. Pingback: Maiden, Mother, Crone: all in one – Perspective/Golden Years! | ALIEN AURA'S BlOG: IT'LL BLOW YOUR MIND!

  2. What a thought provoking artpiece. And thank you for featuring it in this challenge, it’s something that makes me pause… and it truly is a little easier to conceive of the number when seen that way. Not that it makes it any more easy to take


  3. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge – Perspective – Threads to treads |

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  5. Pingback: Weekly photo challenge – Perspective – Araneae |

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