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Art as Trash

Bali Artist Takes Your Rubbish and Turns it into Saleable Works of Art.


When people "rubbish" the name of Nyoman Subandi of Ubud, Bali, he doesn't mind. In fact, when Nyoman is referred to as "Mr. Rubbish" he merely smiles, accepting it as feint praise for his efforts to raise the public's consciousness on the need to recycle garbage and put out the burning piles of trashes that pollute Bali's atmosphere.

Quoted by the national news agency Antara, Subandi says: "Trash has a high value if it is recycled. In fact, I recycle trash to create pieces of art."

A graduate of the Yogyakarta Academy of Foreign Languages, the Ubud resident divides his time between creating trash-based pieces of art and conducting educational seminars for people who wish to emulate his unique approach to art. "So far, most of those who appreciate my art are foreign tourists from Australia, China and Japan. These people appreciate my art because they know it is made from trash, supporting efforts to protect the natural environment," Subandi added.

He claims that using trash as an artistic medium can prove very profitable, eliminating the need to purchase expensive art material. The base material of his art is found in local trash piles or purchased inexpensively from the local trash collector. "With small expense, or sometimes with no expense at all, my art can later be sold with prices between Rp, 200,000 to Rp. 350,000 (US$22 to US$38). For Indonesians this may be considered expensive, but is a price that proves interesting to foreign tourists," explained Subandi.

The artist is confident that, with the passage of time, the public will become increasingly aware of the need to protect the environment and his kind of creative art will secure a larger share of the art purchased by both Indonesians and foreigners.

Subandi explained that little is required to create his "works of art." Recycled paper salvaged from the rubbish only needs to be dried in the tropical sun. His studio is a two man operation, worked by Subandi and one assistant.

Shown on are samples of Subandi's "rubbish art."

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