Art form where nothing goes waste

THIS ART is "rubbish''. Literally. "Reclaimed''- an exhibition that opens at the British Council here later this month - will showcase "designer'' recycled waste. And the artists are blessed with the Midas touch and are popularly known as the New Alchemists.

For those who believe firmly in the policy never to throw away anything, this exhibition will be a vindication of their belief. Waving the magic wand of creativity, they turn mundane things like tea bags into objects of art. "Reclaimed'' celebrates this unique talent.

An art form that is steadily gaining acceptance and appreciation the world over, this is the Capital's chance to catch a glimpse of it. Not a new approach to art, this was a common practice during World War I. With women using electrical wires to brooches, even "rag dolls'' were part of this culture. And those who are more familiar with examples in popular culture, they only have to remember Scarlett turning bright green velvet curtains into a new dress in the film "Gone With The Wind''.

Coming a long way from its frugal beginnings, designing with recycled material has gone quite far. In a world obsessed with effects of global warming and climatic changes, these are artists fulfilling their "green'' duty. An artist, Madeleine Boulesteix, says she is "definitely rebelling against the current outrageous consuming habits''. From rebelling against waste to the inability to find "virgin'' material to work with, if nothing else, the exhibits make a statement.

From distinctive furniture to funky jewellery, these artists have put together a whole range of items for viewers to get an idea of how versatile this material can be. Redefining the rules of "valuable'' art, objects in "Reclaimed'' would probably be everything most conservative art-lovers would not consider fit for display. But for bold artists of the new generation, this is just another language of expression.

There is also hope for those who want to be able to communicate in this new language. One of the participating artists will be conducting workshops at the National Institute of Fashion Technology in the Capital. A crash course in correct "waste management'', only a lucky few will get to add to their vocabulary.

Opening on August 22, the exhibition will be worth a visit. "Reclaimed'' will be on till September 6.

By Mandira Nayar