For 5 months, I was ‘in residence’ with 7 other artists on the Trash ↔ Treasure project. The project was part of the British Council’s Connections Through Culture grant programme. In the UK, artists/creatives Caroline Hyde-Brown, Nur Hannah Wan and I were supported by Ummi Junid. In Malaysia, Joanne Loo supported Abdul Shakir, Fariza Azlina and KC Tan
Together, we exchanged ‘trash’ and waste materials through the post across continents, including packaging, plastics, food wrappers, fabrics scraps and other materials from our lives and art practices. As part of the process, we met up regularly for check-in sessions on Zoom, not only to inspire new uses for our materials, but to instigate a cultural exchange between British and Malaysian practices
In the UK, the end-of-residency exhibition was held at Anteros Arts Foundation, Norwich, Norfolk from 22nd to 26th February 2022. In the exhibition, I displayed my Cyanotype photographic prints and curated a rainbow wall of (mainly) Malaysian ‘trash’ materials
In response to this experience, I created a series of Cyanotype photographic prints in January and February 2022. The variable winter weather conditions of this period are captured in the Prussian blue colour. For example, visible rain drops and hail have made patchy shapes. In addition, the depth of colour captures a range of dull and bright sunlight and shadows. This weather was an unexpected, but welcome, addition to the process
As an artist from/based in Great Yarmouth, my relationship to the coastal environment is important in my life and work. Therefore, I was particularly inspired to work with the collection of beach-combed materials from Malaysia, as well as 3D printing waste
These mainly plastic objects are nestled amongst natural materials, collected from my local beach, including seaweed and bryozoa. To further deepen this connection to the coast, all of the Cyanotype prints have been processed and washed using collected seawater
The final series of prints is a grid of Cyanotype photographic postcards – some in pairs and some individual pieces – displayed together to make one large image: creating narratives from beaches across continents
Trash <—> Treasure is a residency programme that celebrates trash as a meeting point for culture sharing, sparking new conversations between creative practitioners from various disciplines. Through the project, exchange and process, we were considering:
- can trash reveal to us our cultural differences and similarities?
- what is trash to you?
- how does trash interact with our creative practice?
- where is the line between trash and material?
- are there new narratives to be found in trash exchange?
Find out more about the project: