Eco-artists turn trash into treasure

Queensland College of Art doctoral candidates Claire Tracey and Annique Goldenberg have created a stunning sustainable artwork to celebrate the natural wonders of Moreton Bay.

‘Flock’,is made from plastic bottles formed into aerodynamic shapes that represent a flock of birds in flight. The installation moves with the wind and waves and glows at night.

The artwork has been installedalong the foreshore at Nudgee, Manly and Sandgate and is part of a $40,000 public art commission by the Brisbane City Council to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Brisbane-Narashino Wetland Agreement.

Claire and Annique are doctoral candidates at the Queensland College of Art, and both make work which focuses on the environment.

“We want to encourage audiences to think about humanity’s connection to the planet, by using materials like plastic rubbish, handmade paper and water,” said Annique.

“This artwork focuses on the human impact of plastic pollution on the wetland habitat of migratory bird species by using waste products to create something beautiful.”

Claire said that public art was uniquely positioned to tackle big ideas.

“Art can communicate complex ideas in a way no other medium can,” she said.

“I try and create work that makes people feel empowered to go out and do something to make the world a better place – I hope this installation makes people feel a responsibility for protecting the wetlands.”

The artwork makes use of new and innovative techniques in recycling and solar power.

As part of the project, Annique alsoworked with the​ ​local Bush​ ​Regeneration Volunteers and the Boondall Wetlands Environment Centre to collect weeds for a paper-making programme. The paper was used to create two hand-bound artist books for the Brisbane City Council and a delegation from Narashino.

The artwork was made at the Queensland College of Art, and staff and student volunteers from the QCAhelped with the construction and installation of this project.

“There is a wonderful sense of community at the QCA, and there is a real focus on sustainability,” said Claire.

“It’s a young university, and it really puts these big issues into the heart of its campuses.”

Flockcan be viewed at Nudgee Beach, Sandgate and Manly until 20 October.