Artists find treasure in Abrolhos trash

Francesca MannGeraldton Guardian
Hannah Symonds, 10, holds up two pieces she found at Flotsam and Jetsam 2017, which she'll use to create an art piece.
Camera IconHannah Symonds, 10, holds up two pieces she found at Flotsam and Jetsam 2017, which she'll use to create an art piece. Credit: Francesca Mann, The Geraldton Guardian

The Geraldton Fishermen’s Wharf was filled with artists rummaging through piles of trash recently for Latitude Gallery’s fifth Flotsam and Jetsam event.

More than a tonne of discarded objects were brought back from the Abrolhos Islands by a team of 23 volunteers for Clean Up Australia Day.

Artists had four hours to dig through the junk, finding items to recycle into art pieces for Latitude Gallery’s Flotsam and Jetsam exhibition.

Latitude Gallery manager Zanah Palmer said the event aimed to make people aware of the amount of trash found in our oceans.

“This year we’re focusing on plastic,” she said.

“It doesn’t go anywhere and it doesn’t go away, ever. There’s so much rubbish over there and we don’t want it going into landfills.

“We want people to be more aware and know that a lot of this stuff can be reused.”

Artists hunted through piles of trash collected from the Abrolhos Islands for Latitude Gallery's 2017 Flotsam and Jetsam event.
Camera IconArtists hunted through piles of trash collected from the Abrolhos Islands for Latitude Gallery's 2017 Flotsam and Jetsam event. Credit: Francesca Mann, The Geraldton Guardian

Among the discarded rope and floats were more unusual items, such as toilets, TVs and a pack of noodles, still intact.

Although Ms Palmer said it was hard to tell where a lot of the trash came from, the volunteers found discarded items had travelled from as far as China.

Other items are believed to be more than 50 years old.

Michelle Symonds was one of the many artists collecting items on the day and has taken part in the event every year.

“It’s really inspiring seeing what is produced at the end,” she said.

“We all start with the same pile of junk, and it’s fun and creative.

“I like it as it’s a community-run event and we’re helping to get rid of the rubbish.”

Ms Symonds enlists the help of her children to create a piece of art to submit in the exhibition.

Her 10-year-old daughter, Hannah, said she liked the opportunity to get creative.

“I like collecting all the stuff and getting to choose what to build,” she said.

“But sticking it all together is the hard part.”

The Flotsam and Jetsam 2017 exhibition will open on April 8 and the winners of four of the awards will be announced.

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