Recycled works of art

Posted on November 13, 2011. Filed under: Environment and Livelihoods |

-The Star-

IF environmental awareness is instilled at an early age, the next generation presents a sliver of hope in reversing the damage done to earth’s eco-system, says artist and education activist Normah Nordin.

As one of the judges for the Panasonic Kids School Eco Learning – Eco Works of Art and Eco Picture Diary National Contest, she applauded the participants’ ability to turn “trash” into art.

“It’s amazing what the students were able to do with tin cans and plastic bottles. Plus, their knowledge of conservation is impeccable,” said Normah.

The awards ceremony, which took place at the National Visual Arts Gallery, Kuala Lumpur recently, also served as an exhibition for the students’ diaries and artwork.

The award ceremony kicked off with a speech by Panasonic Malaysia managing director Jeff Lee who expressed the importance of youth in eco-conservation.

The team from SM Teknik Sepang with their ‘Metal Flower’ creation together with schoolmate Nurrul Izzatti Omer who won second runner-up prize in the Eco Picture Diary contest.

“A total of 34% of Malaysia’s population is under the age of 15. We must not only make them eco-conscious but also eco-intelligent.

“They can become agents of change — not only will they be aware of earth’s plight, they will also know what to do about it and guide others,” said Lee.

On behalf of Education director-general Datuk Seri Abd Ghafar Mahmud, Education Ministry co-curriculum and arts division director Muhamat Roli Hassan said that in the long run, this will build a pool of environmentally active students.

“This is what the Education Ministry wants: students who display a high awareness of environmental issues and are able to communicate their ideas.

“Utilising art as the contest’s medium provides space for self-expression which in turn nurtures the latent creative talents of our students,” he said.

The overall winner of the Eco Picture Diary National Contest was Muhammad Wafie Sarbini, 11, from SK Taman Sri Andalas, Klang, who was ecstatic with his win.

Muhammad Wafie’s entry beat out 500 picture diaries submitted from 10 participating secondary and primary schools in Selangor.

“The surroundings of my neighbourhood inspired my picture diary.

“I noticed how casually people would litter and emit greenhouse gases into the air,” he said.

“Many did not even notice that what they were doing is detrimental to the environment,” he added.

Asked on his winning entry, Muhammad Wafie said he jotted down his experience in Ramadan over five days leading up to the Hari Raya celebrations accompanied by drawings.

He suggested what could be done to reduce waste and pollution during the festive period.

“You can make Hari Raya greeting cards out of recycled paper boxes and as you clean the house, the air conditioner should be cleaned too for better energy saving.

‘Green’ house creation: The Eco Works of Art contest primary school champions from SK Taman Sri Andalas showing off their entry.

“Car-pooling when visiting relatives reduces carbon dioxide emissions. It’s simple things like this which help preserve the environment,” he said.

Muhammad Wafie will be representing Malaysia at the Eco Picture Diary Global contest in Paris, France in February 2012.

Not to be outdone, the winners of the Eco Works of Art National Contest also displayed a great degree of creativity in their three-dimensional works of art.

The grand prize winner for both the secondary and primary school categories will get a chance to visit Panasonic’s headquarters in Japan.

The team from SM Teknik Sepang grabbed the top spot in the secondary school category with their project titled “Metal Flower”.

Their entry – aluminium cans shaped into decorative metal flowers – were put on display at the National Visual Arts Gallery foyer.

Meanwhile, the team from SK Taman Sri Andalas, which emerged champions in the primary school category, had built a kampung house out of recycled materials.

Apart from being constructed out of disposed egg trays, sponges and straws, the house is also built in the likeness of an eco-friendly home, complete with renewable energy sources such as solar panels.

“These works of art represent the student’s understanding of creating value in unwanted items by converting them into art,” said Panasonic Malaysia corporate communication and branding general manager Azizah Wahid, adding that the Eco Works of Art contest is particular to Malaysia.

This is the first year of this programme and 1,200 students from 10 schools in Selangor took part in the pilot project, she said.

“So far, 200 students have had the opportunity to visit our eco ideas factory in Shah Alam,” she added.

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