Our new collaborative community artwork 'Unwrapping' made its debut this year in Grafton for the unveiling of Grafton Regional Gallery's new $1.7 million dollar development.
Maurice and Matt of GAS studios were honoured to be invited as official artists in residence for the opening weekend of the new wing. Our residency included the launch of our latest inflatable sculpture, and a weekend of collaborative art making inside the gallery.
This project aims to educate people about just how much single use plastic they consume on a weekly basis. These are the plastics that are difficult to be recycled, take centuries to break down, yet wrap the most enticing products that we use every day. This packaging is designed to be eye catching and alluring, then immediately becomes waste. With 'Unwrapping', GAS explored how to bring this flamboyant material back into the circular economy as art.
The project involved hundreds of participants, who were invited to collect wrappers from their homes and re-imagine them into creative collages. Collaging workshops were conducted by GAS via zoom and later in person in schools, art groups and galleries across the region. The result was thousands of collaged colour fields, created by community and made entirely from single use plastic that would've otherwise ended up in the bin.
Participant collages were mailed to the GAS studio in Sydney where they were incorporated into the textiles that form the Unwrapping inflatable sculptural work. The inflatable sculptural work is made from 100% recycled PET bottles, and the work integrates biodegradable films as a way to highlight industry's green options. The Unwrapping project took GAS on it's own sustainable journey - we were faced with the reality of our practice, which requires heavy duty lightweight material (commonly plastic-based). We have pivoted to use more sustainable fabrics wherever possible.
The challenge for GAS was in how to bring so many different creative artworks into one cohesive public display. The final sculpture took the form of a 'wave' to represent the 'wave of change' needed to adapt more sustainable practices and address our pressing environmental issues associated with a single-use economy. We hope to add to the wave of change by expanding the Unwrapping project to regions across Australia.