American Owned, Family Operated

MOCA NoMi: Intersectionality
image: Bottle Glass, Abaca Paper, Mylar
Bottle Glass, Abaca Paper, Mylar

       “American Owned, Family Operated” by Jenna Efrein is a sculpture intending to highlight the damaging effects of water pollution in the natural habitat of South Florida. It is a tiny island inhabited by various endangered species and a small desiccated boy. Predatory in nature alligators are surrounding the island; however, brown water encroaches their space and threatens their existence. They are not the only species at risk.


     The main threats come in three forms. One: excessive nitrogen and phosphorous levels have been detected in the waterways, which cause brown algae blooms that suffocate sea grasses. Fish then starved from oxygen die and float to the surface in great masses. Leaky sewer systems, fertilizers from landscaping and farms are predominantly the reason for these harmful levels in the water. Two: fresh-water runoff from roads and surfaced properties are diverted into the bay, which disturbs the pressures of down hill flowing water and ultimately causes saltwater intrusion. And three: high levels of tritium, a radioactive isotope, have been measured in Biscayne Bay. The presumed cause for this is due to increased temperatures in the cooling canals from leaks of the Turkey Point reactor. The chain of events has caused massive underground saltwater plumes that threaten the drinking water of the Keys. The mismanagement of water in multiple forms, although preserving our lifestyle and helping us to thrive in some respects, is killing wildlife and threatening drinking water aquifers. 


     South Florida was originally considered an uninhabitable wasteland. But through efforts of dredging, draining, and genocide it has become an attractive vacation, retirement, and rejuvenation location. Ironically, through the use and abuse of these reclaimed lands the native environment continues to be annihilated. Nature will prevail, but much of it will be lost. 


     Jenna Efrein aspires to harmonious co-existence between our own social structures and those of others around us through materials use and reclamation. To symbolize the transition in thinking between that which dominates today and that of the future, Jenna up-cycles material, particularly found bottle glass. These containers are transformed through her process to belie their original nature. What was considered waste becomes valuable again. Only labor and passion can transform the material to be reclaimed by its own social circle. Thus, Jenna creates bridges with individuals through her work to expose communal vulnerabilities. It is her method of building a strong community, supportive of itself and of those sharing the environment. 


     Indefatigably hopefully, she aspires to activate people to behave more conscientiously toward other groups. She chooses to believe in the possibility that we can find common ground and discover the voices of the voiceless. 

“I am not crazy.

I am just determined.

I was created; therefore, to create is only natural.

But to connect with you, that is the work.”