Darwin Fridge Festival Celebrates Upcycling

What can you do with old fridge? Well, a lot, actually … especially if you’re an artist. Some examples of what can be done with old fridges are currently on display at the Darwin Fridge Festival.

The event is both an art exhibition and also a celebration of “upcycling” … showing how old household appliances can be transformed into new objects and made useful once again.
There’s a double benefit to this … some wonderful, quirky creations like those filling the Fridge Festival exhibition space at the Darwin Waterfront right now; and the fact that these old appliances are kept out of landfill sites.

Part of the Fridge Festival was a public forum – Sustainability, Recycled Arts and Environmental Awareness – and one of the speakers was Nina Bailey, Environment Centre NT’s acting director.
Nina pointed out that Darwinians, on average, generate about 2 tonnes of waste that goes into landfill sites every year (according to 2010 figures); and that 45% of NT households don’t have access to recycling services for their waste. Landfill sites have serious environmental impacts.
But she says a backlash against this is gaining momentum as people learn to apply creative solutions to our mountains of waste.

Making art works from old appliances is one: building homes and other structures from discarded materials is another: such as houses made from old shipping containers.

Also at the forum was Darwin artist Aly de Groot who is known for her humourous, creative use of discarded plastic rubbish including turning fishing line into jellyfish sculptures, and ghost nets into woven objects. Visiting East Timorese artists Etson Caminha and Tony Amaral from Arte Moris collective spoke about differences between the affluence of Darwin where people discard still-functioning BBQs and other household items out in the street, whereas in Timor Leste products are used until they break and then their parts are used for something else. Etson was leading a stomp band and drumming workshops using old plastic containers, part of the Fridge Festival.