Turning trash into treasure a swell idea

Ronda Sharpe with part of her Swell Sculpture Festival installation.

Queensland College of Art student Ronda Sharpe enlisted the help of Griffith University’s IT team to help create her entry for this year’s Swell Sculpture Festival – using hundreds of old data cables to create part of a stunning collaborative work.

Ronda’s woven pathway forms part of a striking installation, Embryo, which features the work of five artists, all from different cultural backgrounds. The project was led by Toowoomba-based artist Joy Heylen, who won last year’s Swell Sculpture Festival.

Ronda, who was shortlisted for this year’s Churchie National Emerging Art Prize, specialises in environmental art – using trash to create artistic treasures.

The final year Bachelor of Fine Art student and proud Wiradjuri woman has been using old data and electrical cables in her work over the past few years.

“They look amazing – the texture and colour help create really striking pieces,” she said.

“Unfortunately we live in a throwaway society, so my mission is to create something beautiful using the things that people discard.

“I’ve really enjoyed combining an ancient skill like weaving and using re-purposed modern technology.

“The donation of old cables from Griffith’s IT team helped us complete this huge work – I couldn’t have taken on a large-scale work like this without them.”

Ronda Sharpe and Agata Mouasher with part of their Swell Sculpture Festival installation.

Ronda completed the woven pathway with the help of Griffith Business School lecturer Agata Mouasher, herself a keen artist.

Agata, who specialises in inter-cultural management and communication, met Ronda at an arts workshop earlier this year. She said the Swell collaboration was about bringing together the vision and skills of artists from around the globe.

“It was wonderful to see all of the artists bringing ideas and their unique skills to the project,” she said.

“The woven cables represent our communication, and create a pathway, which leads to Embryo, where the connection and creation takes place.”

Queensland College of Art Director Professor Derrick Cherrie said that Swell provided invaluable exposure for emerging artists.

“This event is about supporting emerging artists and giving them a platform,” he said.

“It’s important that they have a showcase for their work.”

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