Figures dressed as Donald Trump and Xi Jinping fight each other on North Bay beach in Scarborough

Visitors to North Bay beach in Scarborough last week might have spotted and unusual sight - figures dressed as US President Donald Trump and China's leader Xi Jinping fighting each other.

Monday, 6th January 2020, 12:16 pm
Updated Monday, 6th January 2020, 12:17 pm
The two figures on North Bay. Picture by Briony Wilson.

The stunt, which saw the powerful pair fight over who was most to blame for the current climate emergency and the pollution of the world’s oceans, was created by York College art student Briony Wilson who videoed and photographed the act for an art project.

Briony was moved to act by the story of a sperm whale found dead off the Scottish coast with a 100kg giant litter ball in its stomach.

She made the leaders’ heads out of papier-mâché along with human hair and cat hair and she place rubbish bags and chicken wire, forming the shape of the dead whale, around them on the beach.

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The papier mache masks. Picture by Briony Wilson

Briony then videoed the fight scenes on January 2 and edited it into a piece entitled ‘Wail’, overlain with whale song, speeches from Trump, Xi and climate campaigner Greta Thunberg as well as music from Wagner’s Lohengrin.

Briony said she researched carbon dioxide emissions and found China and the US are the world's biggest polluters, with China a major polluter of the oceans.

The US has also removed itself from the Paris Climate Agreement.

She said: “I find humour and satire is the most convincing way of transferring ideas, therefore mocking the climate and political situation, as depressing as it is, is the best way to show my point.

“I chose to do performance and video art in this project, as it can be fuelled by rage and emotion, making it more impactful than painting and sculpture.

"I wanted this piece to show who was to blame for the climate crisis, because as much as we can try individually, our efforts are effectively meaningless when the biggest world leaders are actively making the situation worse.

“This piece was intended to highlight the catastrophe, and ridicule the world leaders."

A passer-by, Steve, from Peasholm, said: “I had to do a double take when I spotted the action on the beach.

"It was actually pretty entertaining. I’m all for anything that raises awareness of the climate crisis. Just look at Australia at the moment.”

The students picked up all the rubbish and litter they brought along to create the piece before returning inland.