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Contemporary African Recycled art

Recycled art is one of the most dynamic forms of contemporary art in Africa.

Recycled art is usually recognised as the employment of garbage and found items in the process of making art.

Junk art uses everyday, disposable items in new formats although the original item may not be changed. 

Up-cycling functions to promote an idea, pointing to an issue through the utilization of discarded and found items… and by this method, value is added to the final creation. 

Anywhere you go in Africa you will see trash… scattered on the sidewalks, piled in the markets, debris discarded in the rivers, plastic bottles floating in the oceans; in fact, most everywhere you look.

Truth Is Beauty

A picture of a woman touching the legs of a large sculpture piece at the Renwick Gallery.

Miyah Powe interacting with „Truth is Beauty“ at the Renwick Gallery for No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man. Photo by Libby Weiler.

“What would the world be like if women were truly safe?” This is the question Marco Cochrane challenges both male and female audiences to consider when viewing his sculptureTruth is Beauty. The sculpture – a woman on her toes, stretched backwards – is made from stainless steel and mesh. I was surprised to learn that the 18-foot figure in the Renwick Gallery is a replica of the 55-foot original that stood at Burning Man in 2013 (and it’s still nearly four times my height!). When I entered the Burning Man exhibit at the Renwick, I was immediately drawn to the figure that nearly touched the ceiling. Truth is Beauty is the largest object in the room; the Amazonian figure towered over other museumgoers and other works around it. I was instantly overwhelmed, first, by the sheer size of the sculpture.

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