Oceanic Society X Ocean Sole: Art Competition

This year, Oceanic Society organised an art competition during International Coastal Clean-up week to inspire people to clean up the beaches worldwide!

They supported five environmental conservation organisations with 2,000 dollars to perform a beach clean-up exercise, and after that, they were tasked with creating a sculpture out of the trash collected. The sculptures would therefore be entered into the competition. 

The voting process was transparent and open. The public was invited to choose a winner through a public vote. The audience choice winner would win $500, and the winner selected by a panel of judges would also win $500. 

The participants included: 

  1. Asociación Ambiente Europeo - Spain
  2. Semillas del Océano - Guatemala
  3. Ocean Sole - Kenya
  4. Sustainable Coastlines - Hawaii
  5. Young Environmentalists Programme - India

We were thrilled and honoured to be part of this competition!

We headed down to Kilifi, a coastal region in Kenya, performed a beach clean up and brought the trash back to Nairobi with us!

For our entry, we decided to highlight the Vaquita Dolphin. Often defined as the world’s rarest marine mammal as it is on the edge of extinction. Tragically, there are only about 10 Vaquita dolphins left. 

The cause of their declining population is primarily because of illegal fishing, which entraps them in gillnets used by illicit fishermen in marine protected areas in the Gulf of Mexico where the Vaquita is found.

The artwork was created in our classic Ocean Sole style; we used recycled foam to fill the sculpture's inside and covered the dolphin in flip-flops carved and sanded to create a realistic outline.

Lastly, around the base of the dolphin, the trash collected from the beach clean was stuck around it; this included toothbrushes, bottles and fishing rope.

Led by two of our skilled carvers, Byant and Steven worked on hand-carving and sculpting the dolphin for 7 days, and they upcycled 215 flip-flops in the process.

The Vaquita dolphin is critically endangered and has been subject to much attention this year; we hope this artwork will help raise awareness by showing the dolphin jumping out of a sea of trash.


Ocean Sole Oceanic Society

Ocean Sole’s Vaquita Sculpture


Bryant was the head artist for this sculpture. Here are a few words from him:

“It was great to work on this piece for oceanic society. Usually, our artwork only uses flip flops, and it was nice to create a sculpture using all the ocean trash; I like knowing my work has a positive impact.

Also, we have never sculpted a Vaquita dolphin, so it was fun to make something new; we hope that showing the dolphin jumping out of the trash will make people think more about what they throw away.”

We got 1,226 online votes! Thank you to everyone who voted for us! 

We’re happy to announce that we won the Audience Choice and Judges' Choice, a total of $1,000, which will go into our efforts of cleaning up the environment.

We hope that through this sculpture, people, far and wide, will hear the plight of the Vaquita dolphin and come to their aid. 


Heartfelt gratitude to the Oceanic Society for allowing us to do something unique and special!

We also thank all the participants in this year’s art competition; their work was terrific, and we collected a lot of trash that would have ended up back in the ocean.


*Oceanic Society is a non-profit organisation dedicated to Ocean Conservation. They support worldwide efforts that engage coastal communities in protecting threatened marine species and their habitats.


Shop our dolphin sculptures here! 


Email hello@oceansoleafrica.com for custom projects and creative ideas or to see how to stay connected & get involved with our mission!


Written by: Maureen Simba

Leave a comment