Sunday, 10 August 2014

TrashArt Ghandi-ji

Ghandi Trash-Art
Ya'll know I love up-cycling.  Recycling.  I also love creativity.  Combine the two and it's a double whammy love affair!  So when an old friend's sister, Genevieve, posted her son's very creative up-cycled artwork on my Facebook page, I was awe-struck and super-excited.  And of course, it features one of my all-time favourite human heroes - Mahatma Ghandi.

One of our planet's current problems is our consumer-driven society, which is hell-bent on buying packaged goods.  More and more of the stuff.  Must Have.  Retail Therapy.  (There's even a term for shopping to make you feel better??)  Next month's better model.  Updated versions, with bells and whistles we didn't even know we needed till we saw it advertised.  And everything comes in packaging.  Why, there's even packaging around our packaging.  Let's not for a moment, forget that most of our purchases are transported around the world in yet, yes, more travel-safe, padded packaging.  In bubble-wrap or polystyrene, in boxes, and often, shrink-wrapped in yet more plastic.  So we are creating a death-knell packaging tsunami that is killing our planet, the sea and all life it comes in contact with.  A South African safety website states that 100 children die each year from plastic suffocation, in the UK, 12 children die from this.  How many more across the world?

Today someone brought a nest into our kindergarten, that had fallen out of a tree in one of our recent ferocious storms.  A dinky, teensy miniature basket of incredible weaving workmanship - but laced into it was a bright coloured blue plastic thread!  It is hard indeed to find a bird's nest these days, not contaminated with plastic! We are choking in it!

Now when someone can take that pesky packaging and turn it into something useful or of beauty, then that is something to rejoice in!  Hallelujah!  Joshua Ahren Behrens is a young South African artist who has created such immense beauty out of something considered junk, waste, trash or rubbish in our throw-away society.  He creates incredible works of art from soft drink cans!  I was so impressed, I wanted to showcase this amazing art and so struck up an internet dialogue with Genevieve, asking if I could paste her son's art on my blog.

This is what she said: 
"Thank you so much. I am so deeply humbled and proud of Josh all at the same time. Maybe u can help us by putting it on your blog. Josh has been awarded a bursary to study animation at one of the best animation schools in the world .... The DAVE SCHOOL in Orlando at Universal Studios. (Based on his portfolio) the school has never awarded a bursary before in the 16 years it has been operating. We are beside ourselves with excitement. The bursary does not include accommodation or living expenses and with the rand / dollar exchange our target is South Africa R180 000. Josh is on a gap year this year and is spending it doing commissions and artwork to fund this. Gandhi is for sale for this purpose and will be auctioned at the end of July. The reserve price for it is R15 000. If Gandhi were seen by someone on your blog who wants to buy it that would help us a lot."

Image courtesy of  the www
"Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being."
I went to bed and I couldn't sleep.  How could I help a boy with such incredible talent?  So my normally number-dead brain set to work, running at a pace that had me getting up in the middle of the night and scribbling notes on my bedside notebook (there for these precise moments when the brain is running a thinking marathon) by the light of my trusty solar torch.  If Josh needs ZAR180 000 (NZ exchange rate =$20 000), it is a big ask for any family to come up with such a huge amount of money.  
So I thought, lets break this down into something achievable.  There is a saying, "It takes a village to raise a child".  Well, let us, the world wide web of family, help raise Josh. Let's get him to Orlando art school.  It's that inter-dependence that Ghandi spoke of.  

So he needs NZ$20 000.  If 10 people donated $2000, it would be possible, but that's still too high a cost for average people like me or you.  So, I tried to break it down further:  what if 100 people  each donated $200?  Mmn, still not quite there.  1000 people donating $20?  Achievable, yes, but not many would.  So then, how about 10 000 people donate just $2 each?  That is what would help Josh get to Orlando!  People power!  Helping a young man achieve his dream.

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."
Mahatma Gandhi
Joshua with 3 world leader's portraits created using soft drink bottles.

So what I am asking you, dear reader, can you donate just NZ $2 (ZAR20)?  And here's the rub, if you can't spare just $2 for a fantastic people-powered art mission, could you please just share this page with your friends? The exponential power of maths (and people) can help Josh achieve this art school dream and further his amazing talent (and just maybe, along the way, he'll also influence others to view trash as a prized art medium rather than a piece of junk to be discarded with little regard or thought.  Or maybe, you could also help by actually comissioning Josh to create another picture of an inspiring individual or someone you would like to hang on your wall?  Or maybe you would like to buy his Ghandi portrait?

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
Clearly, Ghandi himself, would have approved.  He believed in the power of the people.  And being the change you wish to see in the world.  If you can help, please email Genevieve, Josh's mum. 

"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history."

C'mon, people, let's create history together.  Let's help create an inspiring artist's future, together.  
Joshua Behrens with his Mandela portrait

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