Monday, October 25, 2010

Creative Recycling - get creative!

It's the new "fashion", the new solution, the new right-thing-to-do. Using things that we usually thrown away to create things we can use and appreciate in our homes and as part of our lifestyle.
/// Lampshades, decorative flowers and baskets made from plastic bottles.

/// Cups, containers and flower vases made from empty glass bottles.

/// Sculptures, plant holders, crafts and accessories made from tin cans, milk cartons and plastic.

...and loads more!
Walk through craft shops and markets and think of ways to use plastic containers, glass, milk cartons and other reusable waste. Go to the library and get a book on crafts.

Get creative!
If you don't have the skill or know-how to do these things yourself, get someone to help you! It can be lots of fun and it could even become a weekly get together between family or friends to create new things from waste. The possibilities are endless.

Always remember to adhere to safety precautions and user instructions when working with sharp tools and also when cutting tin - wear gloves and be extremely aware and careful!


In recognition of National Marine Month this month the Two Oceans Aquarium invites visitors to discover creatures from the mythological floating island of waste called Plastikos. Produced by Simon MAX Bannister, Plastikos is a unique exhibition that aims to raise awareness about waste – particularly plastic and micro plastic – and its impact on the oceans, all through art. The works are made from reclaimed polyethylene plastic which MAX collected by hand from the shorelines, roadsides and landfills of South Africa. Plastikos will be on display in the Aquarium until the end of January 2011.

Incorporated into the Atlantic Ocean Gallery of the Aquarium, Plastikos includes giant sculptures, a spectacular backlit plastic rendition of the Earth as well as the entangled mesh of rope and debris entitled “Tangled”. Visitors come face-to-face a with a massive 10-metre long "Dragon" which represents the monster of waste that must be confronted and overcome. Suspended above the touch pool, the dragon shares his lair in the air with a manta ray. The manta ray piece is based on a trawl device which is being used in research on plastic pollution in the oceans (see Before being suspended, the manta ray creation was trawled around Table Bay harbour and collected a variety of micro plastics and other litter which have been incorporated into the exhibition.

Other elements of Plastikos include a microcosm of a littered beach to illustrate how our beaches are turning to plastic as a result of the careless disposal and poor management of plastic waste. The items on display were all collected from Muizenberg beach. In addition, one of the Aquarium’s existing cylindrical exhibits has been transformed into an eerie display of tangled and twisted rope, interwoven with micro plastics to form a ‘ghost net’. Similar nets can be found drifting in the major currents of the world, collecting smaller broken plastic pieces along the way.

According to MAX, “I have always hunted waste... my journey has taken me along the coastlines of South Africa, the relentless rugged and beautiful headlands driving me on. I have made it my mission to transform the waste that I find into an art form, giving these objects new value and meaning and making them the story of my journey”. He continues, “We now know that the ocean’s living organisms have to compete more than ever to find food, and often mistake the colourful plastics as tasty bites. Micro plastics now outnumber plankton in all [of] the major oceanic gyres. Seals, birds, fish and whales unwittingly face the risks of entanglement, choking or starvation because of our ignorance of what happens to our discarded waste. Reusing the waste I have removed from the natural environment as the medium for the artworks demonstrates the principles of reduce, reuse, recycle, [which is] mixed with an environmental paradox to [help us] rethink our understanding of what plastic really is.”

The Two Oceans Aquarium urges all visitors to reduce, re-use, recycle and rethink. “While we aim to inform people about the marine environment, we also believe that we have to play a vital role in changing people’s behaviour. It is no longer enough to say to people ‘Please don’t litter’ – we have to urge them to rethink their lifestyles and to realise the power they hold as consumers,” said Helen Lockhart, Communications & Sustainability Manager for the Aquarium. “Saying no to packaging, reducing our waste by re-using and recycling and remembering that whatever we do on land, we do to the oceans, are just some of ways we can reduce our footprint on the planet”.

In conjunction with Plastikos, the Two Oceans Aquarium will be hosting the 5 Gyres team in December 2010. This team strives to bring attention to the gyres of plastic marine pollution in our oceans. In 2008, Dr Marcus Eriksen crossed the Pacific from California to Hawaii on a raft made of 15 000 plastic bottles (see By 2010, the team has had a chance to cross three oceanic gyres – the North Pacific with Captain Charles Moore and the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, and the North Atlantic and Indian Ocean gyres with their own organisation, 5 Gyres. They are currently doing a South Atlantic trip to Cape Town as the fourth leg of their five-gyre expedition, and hope to arrive in Cape Town in early December. The Aquarium will present public talks by the team and it is envisaged that members of the public will have access to the research ship on a particular day. Details will be confirmed closer to the time.

For more information, please contact:

Helen Lockhart
Communications & Sustainability Manager
Two Oceans Aquarium
Tel: 021-418-3823

To find out more about Simon MAX Bannister’s work, visit

Other useful websites:

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Majestic Plastic Bag

The Majestic Plastic Bag

This is worth watching... A Mockumentary about a plastic bag's journey to the ocean and the Pacific Garbage Patch.

Friday, October 15, 2010



Seeking visual artists, designers, architects for a public arts project

Infecting The City – the Spier Public Arts Festival is themed ‘Treasure’ for 2011. The main aims of ITC are to turn the communal spaces of our City into stimulating, creative, truly public spaces, and to put socially engaged performance and art on the streets where they are accessible to everybody. The Festival (21 – 26 Feb), which gets high profile in the media, will overlap with the Design Indaba and will serve as a streetwise counterpoint to that event.

‘Treasure’ takes in various realms of preciousness: the weird and wonderful performance and musical expressions that underlie the rich cultural diversity of our society and that are seldom seen outside of the communities in which they originate; our heritage sites; and the barely visible workers that make the CBD function. A variety of artists are participating in these realms.

Another of the areas that we are drawing attention to is the vast quantity of valuable resources that are trashed in the City, resources that should be recycled and put to good use. Throughout the Festival week a large scale durational art happening will take place: a selection of artists from diverse backgrounds will work with discarded recyclable materials on the Cape Town Station Forecourt – a huge paved area traversed by thousands of people everyday. We are seeking artists who would like to join this project.

On the Station Forecourt on Monday 21 Feb garbage will be delivered from 5 different socio-economic zones (e.g. Constantia, Mitchells Plain, Gugulethu, Observatory, the CBD). In advance we will have approached citizens in the 5 selected areas and mobilized them to sort their garbage into recyclable components for 2 weeks or so.

Hence we will get 5 lots of garbage that speak to the demographics of consumption and wastage, kind of like an archaeological / anthropological dig into cross-sectional sectors of contemporary Cape Town society. It should provide material for interesting observation and commentary: who uses what; what does it say about lifestyles, diets etc? These demographic ‘Slices of Life’ will comprise mounds of glass, hard plastics, soft plastics, paper, metal etc.

We are putting together a collective of 6 - 8 artists from different backgrounds and with different skills to intervene with the assembled matter. The artists can tackle whatever material they like, sometimes in collaboration with one another, sometimes individually. Turning the 25-odd piles of waste into individual works over the course of the week.

The concept for this intervention is still in development. We aim to build a nuanced, punchy, intelligent framework that is accessible and stimulating to people from all walks of life. As one of the artists working on this intervention we would require you to do some preparation. It is important that the creations made out of this junk are rooted in rich conceptual ground, that they speak to concerns and critiques about our wasteful lifestyles. We are linking up with COPART – a collective of local artists and activists working around issues of climate change and holistic modes of living – and are exploring how best to make this resource available to the participating artists.

As a participant you’ll have the opportunity to get out of your studio and make provocative, socially-engaged works for 5 ½ days with a bunch of creative people on a public square with the mid-February sun smiling upon you; to engage with spectators and curious passersby; to be part of a buzzing, ground-breaking festival; and to be paid for the privilege. Are you up for it?

If this appeals to you please contact me with a CV by Friday 22 October.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Brett Bailey

Curator: Infecting The City


SUCH amazing work!

Newly formed eco-art organization Such Initiative has launched “Tomorrow’s Joy”; a 100m2 recycled plastic bottle top mosaic, at Mary Fitzgerald Square on 18th September 2010. The 7 x 14m public artwork has been commissioned by Arts Alive and was made in conjunction with 8 community centers (including approximately 140 children and disabled adults) and 31 crafters from Johannesburg.

The artwork was made in 10 weeks beginning during the World Cup. It aims to use public art as a vehicle to learning about recycling and eco consciousness. Through the collection, cleaning, sorting and weaving of discarded plastic bottle tops, participants got a hands-on understanding of the value of recycling and the power of art. Such Initiative wanted to determine academically the shift in thinking and commissioned a social scientist and an environmental art education expert to investigate the lessons learnt by the participants. The findings from these reports show a clear change in their perceptions regarding waste. The reports are available

The artwork is on display until 20 October 2010. The entire artwork can be recycled and is available for sale.

Such Initiative is a collaborative arts organization started by artists Usha Seejarim and Hannelie Coetzee. Their mission is to change perceptions through eco-conscious public art.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Artists: sell your work online

Want to sell your work online, but don’t potential buyers to sift through a lot of unrelated products to get to your work? Sell your work through State of the Art. They represent South African emerging artists and art graduates.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


An artistic intervention at COP16 Cancun, Mexico, December 2010 by the
Heinrich Böll Foundation in association with COPART and the Arterial Network

Visual Arts Call for Submissions: Climate Change in Africa

The Heinrich Böll Foundation (HBF) Southern Africa Office will hold a visual arts exhibition depicting climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation opportunities in Africa at the 16th Conference of Parties (COP16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Cancun, Mexico, from 29 November to 10 December, 2010.

Eligible visual artworks: photographs, paintings, collages, and multimedia artworks that can be exhibited using audio visual equipment.

Themes: Impact of climate change on Water Security, Food and Agriculture, Gender, Health, Natural Resources and Biodiversity in Africa.


A photograph of the artwork must be submitted, in the highest resolution/quality as follows:
•Image format: JPG or Bitmap, 300+ dpi, minimum size 3 MB.
•Video format: All formats, max 12 min, high resolution, up to 100MB (upload via

Send to: Tigere Chagutah ( by 22 October 2010, or if more than 5MB, via free upload site: to the same address.

Owners of selected works will be notified by 29 October 2010.

COP16 Website:

COPArt is a collaboration between artists, scientists and activists in preparation for, and in response to, the COP17 climate change negotiations which will be taking place in South Africa in 2011. |

Monday, October 4, 2010

It's going to be a fun green weekend!

The "Nature-minded Expression" event for the 350 Work Party event on Sunday is self-regulated, self-initiated and self-managed. You as artist or performer are fully responsible for your own 'piece'. The venue is the Celebrate Life festival which will be held at the River Club in Observatory, Cape Town. Remember that a strict No-Trace, No-Harm policy is being adhered to, so leave no trace, mark or residue and also do no harm to people, festival stalls, property or the area. Other than that, have fun and create awareness!!

Also remember to wear GREEN!


I need your help and participation for Saturday and especially Sunday! We're setting up a small space where people can join in and make things from 'waste materials' especially empty plastic bottles, milk cartons and other food packaging. So what we need is the following:

- You, please commit an hour or more of your time
- Tools like scissors and pliers
- Lots of creative ideas
- And of course any materials that you think we can use!

Please contact - your help is needed to make this a success!

For more info on the festival

HUMANEARTH Exhibition #1

If you missed the HumanEarth Brainstorming session at Greatmore Studios in Woodstock, don't worry, you can still participate in the first exhibition! Planned to open on 27 November 2010 in Cape Town, this exhibition will feature new as well as existing work by local artists
focused around human interaction with our planet. Send your information, ideas or images of your art to Nastasha Daniels at

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The South African Art Times

The South African Art Times publish articles, exhibition listings and an enormous amount of useful art-related information on an ongoing basis.

Global Art Information also publishes the Art Times, SA Art Information Directory, Business Art and Art Life. To be included in their exhibition listings, send your exhibition information to