Poet Sipeli trans­forms trash to beau­ti­ful art

Fiji Sun - - AMAZING FIJIANS - FONUA TALEI Used pegs found on Lele­via Is­land dis­played as art. Edited by Caro­line Ratu­cadra

Renowned lo­cal poet, Peter Sipeli, is pi­lot­ing an ini­tia­tive called ‘The Af­ter­life of Things’ to ad­dress the grow­ing con­cern of trash.

Through po­etry and pho­tog­ra­phy, Mr Sipeli col­lects rub­bish that washes up ashore on Leleuvia Is­land Re­sort near Ovalau dur­ing his morn­ing walks and doc­u­ments them for ex­hi­bi­tion in the re­sort’s art gallery.

Un­der the di­rec­tion of Colin Philp, the is­land has worked over the past eight years to re­store the sur­round­ing ma­rine ecosys­tem that is now a thriv­ing ma­rine park. Over the years the is­land has banned plas­tics and chem­i­cal­based sun­screen while en­cour­ag­ing guests to dis­card sin­gle-use plas­tics be­fore com­ing to the is­land.

“This project is a broad project that seeks to asks ques­tions about rub­bish, es­pe­cially the rub­bish I col­lect daily on Leleuvia is­land. But to po­si­tion a con­ver­sa­tion around where does our rub­bish go? Do we care once it leaves our home or has it fin­ished its pur­pose to us? Where does all the rub­bish that isn’t col­lected in ru­ral ar­eas go and how can we work to­gether across sec­tors to think deeper about waste and rub­bish dis­posal,” Mr Sipeli said.

He said at the na­tional level, waste dis­posal is still a huge con­cern.

“Like most coun­tries we try our best but small is­land states have trou­ble with this is­sue across the world.

“This project isn’t one about blam­ing peo­ple or govern­ment, it’s about ask­ing peo­ple to think deeper about the things we buy as most of the time it ends up in the ocean and none of us want that.”

Mr Sipeli is a firm be­liever in adopt­ing cre­ative ap­proaches to get peo­ple to start think­ing deeper about where their waste goes.

“We can af­fect change and have a won­der­ful coun­try that dis­poses rub­bish in a way that does not ruin the en­vi­ron­ment around us. Many coun­tries don’t have the an­swers yet, but if we keep ask­ing ques­tions we can get there.”

He is also the pub­lisher of Fiji’s only on­line arts magazine which was founded by him and graphic de­signer Joshua Dean.

The duo have also cre­ated a se­ries of post­cards that at­tempts to cre­ate a new way of look­ing at dis­carded ob­jects.

A col­lec­tion of trash that had been found on the beach on Leleuvia Is­land near Ovalau Is­land con­verted into art by Peter Sipeli.

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