In April of 2018, the annual Flowers and Gardens Festival was held in Mexico City, and one of the art installations created for the event was destined to stay at the Chapultepec Botanical Garden long after the festivities were over. It is the “Future Forest,” created by artist Thomas Dambo out of three tons of recycled plastic.
The plastic forest is a colorful garbage garden with a lake, caves, trees, a waterfall, and many different animals, all made with waste that Dambo and his team found recovered from the Aragon dump. There are coconuts made with the plastic skulls used to collect Halloween candy, soda bottle grass, trees made from buckets, and plenty of plastic flowers. A lot of plastic animals are hidden within the forest, too: foxes, rats, caterpillars, chameleons, vultures, deer, turtles, and even a panda.
The idea of the project is to encourage recycling, which is why Dambo worked with schools and elderly homes to enact recycling campaigns to gather materials. The goal is also to change people’s perception of trash from something gross to something important and full of potential. Dambo worked with garbage collectors in the city of Aragon to collect all the plastic possible over the course of eight weeks, and turn it into something beautiful.