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Often, art and craft created from waste or found objects is justified simply by the fact of the materials, or by the artist’s philosophical agenda. The Wasted exhibition, at Johannesburg’s Unity Gallery in October, emphasised that the focus was on the beauty of the art and technical skill, rather than the use of waste material as a primary medium.
Bottle tops, cigarette packet liners, car parts, chip packets, ring pulls, waste paper, old cutlery and many other commonly found objects were used in the works on show. Exhibitors included Mandy Coppes, Prince of Newtown, Nkosinathi Thomas Ngulube, Flip Hattingh, Patrick Mabena, Lebogang Tshetlo and Vuyo Seripe.
“We use different materials, yes, and the materials are relevant thematically to the global environmental context, but that’s not our end point. Our focus is rather on the work that has been created by the artists – the art, in other words, comes before the theme or the theory,” re-emphasised the Unity Gallery’s Robyn Field.