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Artist Evelyn Roth creates handmade inflatable works that educate people around the world about environmental issues. She has been making Festival Arts inflatable “Nylon Zoo” animals from her kitchen table at her home in Australia for the past 25 years.
Many of the inflatable animals are 15 meters high. They are made by hand from nylon in an array of stunning colors. Each one takes about 70 hours to make. An inflatable sculpture can fit in a backpack and be inflated easily.
The material captures and blends light to produce an effect similar to stained-glass windows in a church to create an engaging atmosphere for people to listen and learn. The animals provide a mobile schoolroom that can seat up to 50 people. A storyteller educates visitors about the environment and social responsibility.
The inflatable animals have been put on display in countries around the world to educate members of the public about environmental issues, endangered species, public health, and ecology. Roth made giant salmon that are currently on display in Brazil and Alaska, a platypus for Germany, a beaver for Canada, and dragons for Singapore and Hong Kong. She has also made a swamp monster, rooster, giant squid, and tiger. Roth has displayed her inflatable creations at the annual WOMADelaide for the past 20 years.
Roth was commissioned recently to create an inflatable southern right whale and two monk seals in Hawaii. The species are endangered. The monk seal colony on the island of Kauai is the last one in the world. She believes it is important for people to understand the importance of the colony, the threats it faces, and what people can do to help.
Nylon Zoo installations have been displayed at festivals and fairs in Australia. They have also been used to educate people in indigenous communities in the remote Outback. Roth created an inflatable ear to teach people in remote Aboriginal communities about deafness. People were able to walk through it to learn how the ear works and how to protect their hearing. A public health nurse explained things, answered questions, and gave advice.