12 Water Pollution Popsicles

Some artists that showcase the effects that climate change and humans have on the environment are Hung I-Chen, Guo Yi-hui, and Cheng Yu-ti. They are art students from National Taiwan University of Arts. Their collaborative pieces are part of a series called Water Pollution Popsicles (relabeled for English speakers). These popsicles feature water from 100 locations around Taiwan. Each popsicle looks aesthetically pleasing but when the viewer finds out where the water is from the pieces go from pretty to sad. They were created in order to allow the viewer to think about the effects that humans have on the environment.

To achieve the look of water the artists mixed the collected water with a resign in order to allow them to last longer than an average popsicle. Each popsicle features a unique wrapper with the place where the water was found and the assumed ingredients. Making the popsicles everlasting allows for people to view the popsicles not just in photographs, but in person.

One of the ways that the artists chose to share this art is a video featuring the creators opening each popsicle, they circle the pollution in the popsicles and label what they are. Some of the items that are included in the popsicles include; straw wrappers, plastic clips, used cigarette filters, oil, invasive species moved to streams by humans dumping and many more items that show the detrimental effect of humans on the water sources in Taiwan and around the world. Showing the creators opening the popsicles has a shock factor in that someone wouldn’t expect to open a popsicle with trash water in it just as someone wouldn’t expect to get water from a stream or lake with trash in it.

Another way the creators decided to show the popsicles is in a series of photographs edited side by side. In this piece, the main focus is the colors of the water that made the popsicles. The colors range from yellow-brown to green-blue and even deep purple. Of the 100 popsicles, very few of them are clear, showing the large problem of pollution in the water around Taiwan. Showing the pieces side by side allows the viewer to imagine all the different levels of pollution around the country.

Through a sense shock of seeing appetizing looking popsicles then realizing that they are made from polluted water, the viewer is forced to think about the pollution that humans have put into water. The viewer is also forced to think about what they can do in order to change the way that humans treat the earth and what they, themselves can do to change.

Taiwan’s climate change is much larger than the rest of the world. While this art series can shed light on the effects of humans on the environment around the world it is important to focus on the place where the art was intended to shed light on. Taiwan’s heat index has climbed over twice the amount that the rest of the world has over the last 100 years. They experience extreme tsunamis from melting ice caps and other extreme weather due to climate change.

These student artists do a wonderful job of creating a conversation about climate change in their nation and in others. Starting conversations through art is a wonderful way to spread awareness about the issue of climate change and global warming. While these popsicles look beautiful the ingredients and meaning behind them are anything but.




Sierzputowski, Kate. “Polluted Water Popsicles: Faux Frozen Treats Highlight Taiwan’s Water Pollution Problem.” Colossal. January 16, 2018. Accessed April 30, 2019. https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2017/06/polluted-water-popsicles/.

“These Popsicles Are Made from Polluted Water.” CNN. August 03, 2017. Accessed April 30, 2019. https://www.cnn.com/style/article/sewage-popsicles-taiwan/index.html.



Opening Contemporary Art Copyright © by Sarah Parrish. All Rights Reserved.

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