Bia Amar Nae (Where Will We Go?)
Armila, Guna Yala, Panama
Bia Amar Nae (Where Will We Go?) is a public installation established in the Spring of 2019 in Armila -- a small village within the independent indigenous comarca of Guna Yala, Panama -- while in residence with an ecological research and conservation project known as La Wayaka Current.
The installation was created in conjunction with and as a contribution to broader local efforts to clean and conserve the beaches of Armila, which in recent decades have come to be saturated with non-biodegradable waste washing in from the Caribbean Sea. With the permission and encouragement of the local community, shoes were separated from the collected trash, organized and secured to a public fence in a design resembling the color arrangements and geometric patterns commonly used in the Gunas' traditional hand-sewn molas.
The shores of Armila serve as one of the primary global nesting grounds for the giant leatherback sea turtle - or baula; a species which has existed on the planet for tens of millions of years and is now critically endangered due to the prevalence of plastics in the ocean.