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Upcycled Art Installation - Ocean

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Upcycled Art Installation - Ocean
I find it wonderful how people can reconnect after so many years. On a recent trip to Hong Kong, I was linked up with a secondary school classmate who also happens to be an artist. I think both of us were wondering whether there would be any connection because we hardly spoke to each other in school, except for the occasional hello. Well, life does have its twists and turns, and we realised we shared a passion for the arts, education and the environment. What was supposed to be an art jam, ended up being a 4 hour discussion, and we forgot to eat! 

Our chat ended off with a desire to collaborate, and soon I was texting Arana about upcycling bedsheets, rust dyes and free motion embroidery. Arana was off scouring her home by the beach for rust and using the seawater to create rust dyes with her old bed linens, while I was being inspired by Chasing Ocean.  

Rust Dye

I was very surprised by what you can find on a beach! Arana found this huge rusty chain that she then cut up and wrapped in her old bed linen. The colours that came out of the sea water soak were beautiful, and Arana added that it was fortunate (or rather, unfortunate) that at the same time, clumps of palm oil from a ship collision were washing onto the shoreline. 

Rust dye with sea water



Dying Corals

With this upcycled art installation, I wanted to depict the environmental pressures the corals are facing as their habitat is being eroded by warming sea temperatures, increasing water acidity and pollution.  I don't think many people realise that the health of our planet depends on these underwater 'rain forests':  Coral reefs support a quarter of all marine species (in terms of food and shelter) and half a billion people worldwide.

Although I was inspired by Chasing Coral, I focused on coral species that are found in Singapore's shores, the fan and plate corals.  Free motion embroidery was used and I confined the coral to within the embroidery hoop, thus illustrating the shrinking healthy habitat they are living in. 


Why Upcycled

We felt it was important to minimise the use of virgin materials as much as possible in this project. Human activity and consumption is the culprit of the demise of the coral reefs, and a lot of it is reflected in buying things, including clothing.  In fact, research at Coral Reef Studies, Arc Centre of Excellence, Australia, has shown that corals are ingesting the microplastics (plastics less than 5mm long) that we produce. And where does microplastics come from? Health and beauty products, synthetic clothing, among others

The base of the installation is old bed linens while the free motion embroidery was done with scrap materials from other projects. 

Free motion embroidery Upcycled Art Installation

Free motion embroidery Upcycled Art Installation

Free motion embroidery Upcycled Art Installation


Ocean is an upcycled art installation and will be on display at Green is the New Black, The Conscious Festival (1 October, 11am - 6pm, Park Royale Hotel on Pickering).  Working for the first time, artists Agy and Arana combined their ideas and passion towards art and the environment. This collaboration illustrates how the environment affects every single one of us, no matter where we are in the world.


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Abdelghafour

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