Trash to treasure: 2021 Flotsam and Jetsam art competition winners announced

Headshot of Liam Beatty
Liam BeattyGeraldton Guardian
Big Day by Narelle Phillips, modelled by Lorenna Perrin.
Camera IconBig Day by Narelle Phillips, modelled by Lorenna Perrin. Credit: Supplied

Choosing the winners among 110 artworks submitted to the Flotsam and Jetsam competition this year was a “tough job” according to organisers who commended the “exceptional” quality of works created.

Finishing up its 10th year, the competition saw more than 80 people from across the Mid West work their creative magic across the seven categories.

Organiser Pia Boschetti said the competition received artworks “above and beyond” the expectations of judges.

“We couldn’t believe the enthusiasm,” she said. “You can see that everyone put so much effort into their pieces.”

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In February, Ms Boschetti took a team of 25 volunteers over to the Abrolhos Islands for Clean Up Australia Day, collecting washed-up debris for the art competition.

They returned three days later with more than five tonnes of salty materials which they then piled high on Geraldton Fisherman’s Wharf for the aspiring artists. “It’s having a really positive impact out on the islands,” she said. “In past years it would take a day for us to collect enough junk but now it’s taking three.”

Marine ecologist Dr Chris Surman co-ordinated volunteers this year, collecting the flotsam and jetsam from mangroves around Pelsaert Island.

“Over 10 years the competition has had a big impact on reducing the amount of large man-made items from the islands,” he said. “It’s just fantastic that waste can be reused and turned into art while having a net benefit on our environment.”

The competition will return in 2022, according to Ms Boschetti, who says that, given the enthusiasm shown by the community, it will not end anytime soon.

“It just gets bigger and bigger every year and the community here loves it,” she said. “It takes a lot of time to organise and follow through with, but I love how everyone feels comfortable entering. It’s very inclusive.”

Artworks have been on display at Latitude Jewellers on Marine Terrace since the opening night on May 1, with the winning wearable art piece fetching $1000.

Mrs Boschetti said most people who entered the competition chose to keep their piece but some decided to sell their artworks.

“We’ve still got the people’s choice category running until May 29 so make sure to get down and vote for your favourite,” she said.

View the winning artworks here

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