Shopping for inspiration - Anabel Pepecucu Saeló

  • Art
Shopping for inspiration - Anabel Pepecucu Saeló


Fri, 15/05/2015 - 10:58


Anabel Pepecucu Saeló likes the powerful orange of Sainsbury’s bags
Anabel Pepecucu Saeló likes the powerful orange of Sainsbury’s bags
14 May, 2015

ANABEL Pepecucu Saeló is redefining the term “bag lady”. The City and Islington BTEC Foundation student has been experimenting and playing with her impressive collection of plastic bags that she estimates could be well over 1,000-strong. 

The textiles student has been creating short-lived installations in public green spaces around Islington and Hackney. You may have spotted rows of carefully knotted plastic bags delicately billowing between trees in Finsbury Park, outside the college campus in Camden Road or in Millfields Park in Clapton. 

These experiments with the ubiquitous bag originally formed more of a side project for her clothing designs that knot, tie and twist strips of plastic. She has heated, drawn, inflated and stacked the bags. “I want to play with the quality of the plastic,” she says. “And then one day I was coming from church and I started to see a lot of plastic bags in trees. In a few days I took 148 photos of trees in bags in trees. I started to think about this link between natural and the artificial. While I’m playing with the bags I’m looking behind the plastic, at the choices in their production, why that colour, why that shape?”

Anabel Pepecucu Saeló

Anabel arrived in the UK two years ago from Equatorial Guinea, via Spain, and considered studying textiles only after a discussion at her church on the relationship between identity and clothing. She is currently cramming guerilla art pursuits between studies and her job in McDonald’s before beginning her studies at the London College of Fashion later this year.

Anabel, 27, was inspired by Jean Francois Bocle’s stunning piece “Everything Must Go”, 2014, a deep sea of 97,000 blue plastic bags representing the lives lost and suffocated in the slave trade.

The ability of the bags to grow and shrink according to wind and breath intrigued Anabel and she pinpointed four trees in Millfields Park, close to her home in Hackney. “I chose 112 Sainsbury’s bags, I really like the orange, it is so powerful. I tried ones from Tesco and Morrisons but it just wasn’t the same.” 

Arriving at 8am at Millfields Park to install last weekend, she planned to return a few hours later – the installations only exist for hours – only to find a family had camped next to the installation for a birthday picnic. 

“The kids really liked it, they told me lots of people had been taking photographs,” she says. “When I do this I expect it to be removed. 

“I’m always scared to use all my plastic bags in case someone takes it down so it came as a surprise when the family thanked me for it.”

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