X-Press Pearl was a Singapore-registered Super Eco 2700–class container ship. On May 20, 2021, X-Press Pearl caught fire off the coast of Colombo, Sri Lanka. The vessel, carrying over 1,486 containers, became fully engulfed in flames on May 27, 2021. After burning for 12 days, the vessel sank on June 2, 2021. As it burned and sank, it spilled its cargo, including 378 tons of oil, 25 tons of nitric acid, and 171,000 pounds of low-density plastic pellets. It is currently responsible for the deaths of over 176 turtles, 20 dolphins, 4 whales, and thousands of fish.
The incident was deemed the worst marine ecological disaster in Sri Lankan history, impacting this busy port city with not only chemical ruin that caused acid rains, but affected the lives of over 4,300 families with a temporary fishing ban that was caused by the non-biodegradable plastic pellet pollution.
X-Press Pearl | Ink, Chalk, Graphite on Strathmore Watercolor Paper | 22 x 30 in | 2021
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Delgado immerses himself into areas of global conflict to meet with other artists and activists to gain a better understanding of the issues that he visually investigates. While Mexico in Delgado accompanies a Cultural Attache of the Mexican government, to meet with the Zapatista Delegation from Chiapas, Mexico during the infamous Zapatista civil society uprising of 2000. His Middle Eastern interests are born from a months-long expedition to Jordan, Syria, Israel, West Bank, Gaza Strip, and other parts of Palestine, where he meets with a variety of Political Artists, some living in exile and in refugee camps, who educate him about the social unrest and historical implications of the Middle Eastern Affairs. It is here in the Middle East, Gabriel Delgado is identified, detained, and jailed on suspicion of International Terrorism, ultimately cementing his political ideologies, and catapulting his intense scrutiny of the U.S. Government and its handling of international affairs.