Own Your Rubbish

 

Running from  19/05/16 - 20/06/16

The National Gallery of Zimbabwe is set to host the Own Your Rubbish Exhibition from the 19th of May 2016. The exhibition is by photographer, Laurie MacPherson and is motivated to inspire citizens to take responsibility for their consumerism through the vehicle of their own rubbish.

 The National Gallery of Zimbabwe is set to host the Own Your Rubbish Exhibition from the 19th of May 2016. The exhibition is by photographer, Laurie MacPherson and is motivated to inspire citizens to take responsibility for their consumerism through the vehicle of their own rubbish.
Own Your Rubbish is funded by the European Union in partnership with the Embassy of Sweden, through the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust. The exhibition also has support from various corporations and businesses.
The meaning of the title Own Your Rubbish encourages people to ‘own’, or take responsibility for what they buy and how they dispose of it in order to make them see how liable they are for the waste they create; the impact of which may last over thousands of years.
The exhibition also consists of five community groups which include Zeebags; The Friendship Bench, The Hope Group, The Happy Organisation and Shingirirai Trust, whom all do amazing work through the ‘medium’ of rubbish, by utilising soda cans, HDPE (Polyethylene High Density, used for piping)  and PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) plastic, recycled paper and glass, and together they have created what they hope will be a thought provoking show.
She is also working with 12 artists who utilise found objects and they will be showcasing their individual pieces as well as some collaborative pieces which they have done.
“I have been involved in environmental issues for a number of years and recently felt the urgency to meld my love for image making with a wider art sphere, and to include other artists in a project detailing the impact we all personally make on the environment", said MacPherson. The aim of the exhibition is centred on the sensitisation of the public concerning personal responsibility with regards to waste creation.
“The Own Your Rubbish Exhibition will hopefully conscientise people to think differently about how they live and consume" said MacPherson. “Our planet is dire straits and most of the harm being done to it is caused by humans. We have finite resources yet we blindly continue on a path of wanton consumerism.”
She added that society has the knowledge and means to clean energy (solar, wind, hydro, and biofuels) – yet fossil fuels from oil and nuclear power are still being used. There is continual deforestation, pollution of the land via hazardous chemicals or non-biodegradable materials and making landfills of the oceans.  
MacPherson's work has been influenced by her love of nature. She grew up with an appreciation for the natural world and it pains her to see the degradation of this planet, Therefore, the concept of the  Own Your Rubbish exhibition manifested after MacPherson was exhausted from seeing the increase of rubbish everywhere; from roadsides, the bush and even the Central Business District. The practice of illegal and dangerous waste disposal activities present a societal chagrin in the present for the environmentally conscious; with an unforseen danger that will haunt future generations as such litter takes decades to biodegrade.
Environmental scientists say that every piece of plastic that has ever been produced is still around. Plastic does not biodegrade as it just breaks down into smaller pieces, many of which leak toxins into the ground. MacPherson felt agitated by the practice of burning plastic and kaylite which release noxious poisons into the air.
During the course of the exhibition MacPherson hopes that it will make people think of the small ways in which we can change our habits; for example when shopping and weighing fruit or vegetables, one must ask the shop attendant not to bag a fresh produce in plastic, but rather to put the price label on the produce itself. Shopping bags made out of fabric last for years instead as opposed to  single use plastic bags, which ultimately end up disposed in a manner in which they take hundreds of years to disintegrate. MacPherson also plans on engaging disadvantaged children to visit the exhibition where they will be given guided tours around the show, so that these children have an insight on proper waste management practices.
The exhibition will move to different venues throughout 2016, there will be numerous collaborations with a diverse selection artists along the way such that the ambience of the show evolves and adapts each time the show moves to a different location.

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