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'Mount Recyclemore': ahead of summit, artist builds gigantic electronic waste sculpture of G7 leaders

As the world's most powerful political leaders prepare to descend on St. Ives, Cornwall for the annual G7 summit, a monumental sculpture of their likenesses has been erected on a beach around five miles away. Although inspired by the Mount Rushmore National Memorial—a colossal sculpture of four historic US presidents carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota—the work, dubbed Mount Recyclemore is decidedly less grand. Composed entirely of discarded electronic goods such as computer monitors, circuitboards and mobile phones, it aims to highlight the damage caused by the disposal of electronic devices.

Built on the dunes facing directly onto where the summit will take place, the work will no doubt be seen by the leaders. Its creator, the sculptor Joe Rush, told the BBC: “We have this looking at them and hopefully we’re going to prick their conscience and make them realise they’re all together in this waste business."

According to a report by the United Nations, more than 53 million tonnes of e-waste was generated worldwide in 2019, a number that is set to more than than double by 2050.

The seven world leaders who are depicted in the work are: US president Joe Biden, UK prime minister Boris Johnson, Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga, France's president Emmanuel Macron, Italian prime minister Mario Draghi, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Rush was commissioned by retailer musicMagpie to create the work.