The Power of Upcycling

April 16, 2019

Local resident and Mission Arts member Shirley Collins describes the inspiration for her latest artwork and our current exhibition, UPCYCLED.

UPCYCLED, a unique and exciting exhibition, was a concept created by local resident Shirley Collins.  She is an Indigenous artist from the Mt Isa Kalkadoon community.

This exhibition showcases a creative collection of preloved and discarded materials transformed into new recycled objects. The aim of the exhibition is to show how waste can become new functional objects and, importantly, to raise awareness of the benefits of recycling in the community. 

“It all began with my daily beach walks where I collected empty drink bottles, plastic and litter from the shoreline.  The rubbish was unnecessary and can have detrimental effects on our coastal environment, wildlife and sea life.  I started to think about recycling such materials. I used old yoghurt containers to make lovely flower gifts for my grandchildren.” Shirley stated. “My recycled artwork includes objects made from plastic straws. But, they also tell another story. Straws are often mistaken for food by turtles and may cause suffocation and death. Such objects show the impact of waste on wildlife. I hope the UPCYCLED exhibition will inspire everyone to think about the fragility of the environment and how waste can destroy local habitats and wildlife.”

The exhibition UPCYCLED also includes several other artists who, like Shirley, convert waste into contemporary objects. They practice the art of “upcycling”, or turning everyday trash into treasure. The UPCYCLED Exhibition opens Saturday, 20 April at 6pm at Mission Arts and offers the opportunity to meet some of the contributing artists. All are welcome. Entry is free with nibbles and a cash bar. The exhibition will be open for viewing from 10am-2pm daily through 5 June. Entry is free though gold coin donations to support the organisation are greatly appreciated.