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2021 SWAP winners revealed

Published on 21 December 2021

An artwork which uses discarded plastics to highlight the damage pollution can create in our waterways has taken out the major award at the City of Ryde 2021 Sustainable Waste 2 Art Prize (SWAP). 

‘Diatoms’ by local artist Tracie Axton was awarded first prize in the open category (for 18+ years). The artwork was created by transforming micro-plastics that Ms Axton collected along Sydney’s shorelines and waterways, into replicas of diatoms, which is a form of algae found across the world.

“The ongoing concern of pollutants in the ocean prompted the question, what if I gave form to washed up plastics to resemble the algae and organisms impacted by discarded plastics? Diatoms provides an understanding into the practice of making art that is aesthetic as well as a statement about the current environmental crisis of our planet,” Ms Axton said.

Felix Watson took out the Youth Environment Prize (for 14 to 17 year olds) for ‘Fossil Faces’ in which he used reclaimed fibreboard, bottle caps, string, pill packets, bottle tops, foam packaging, screws, broken toys and paper clay to create a series of faces that are intended to be viewed as “modern-day ruins”.

Henrietta Robinson was awarded the Junior Youth Environment Prize (for 10 to 13 year olds) for turning rubbish and waste into a miniature house called ‘Junk House’. 

The Functional award – for the design object judged to have best used reclaimed material to form a functional piece – was taken out by Ben Gibson for “Are you gonna throw that out? If so, can I have it?, in which old skateboard decks were used to make beautiful looking bowls.

Meanwhile, St Michael’s Catholic Primary School at Meadowbank won the School Participation Prize for being the school with the highest number of entries with 15 submissions. 

SWAP is a unique competition in which artists who live, study, work or play in the City of Ryde are asked to produce artworks that are made from repurposed waste material. This year’s competition attracted more than 190 entries which transformed waste into artworks and objects inspired by our natural environment, ocean pollution, COVID-19 lockdowns and more.

More than 70 entries in this year’s SWAP competition are currently being exhibited at Brush Farm House from 10am-4pm until Friday 24 December 2021.

The artworks can also be viewed online until Sunday 30 January 2022.

Click here for more information and to vote for your favourite artwork in the People’s Choice Award.

SWAP is staged by the City of Ryde in partnership with TAFE NSW.

Last updated on 21 December 2021