Why Norwich woman’s art is a ‘load of rubbish’

A Norwich student is aiming to brighten up the city with artwork that is quite literally a load of old rubbish.

Catherine Carey's creative collages transform street litter into works of art that she then redistributes to residents.

The laminated tags containing the collages can be seen hanging at popular spots around the city, and aim to 'make the ordinary extraordinary'.

'I want to change the status of the rubbish and how people think of it,' said Miss Carey, 23, a student at Norwich University College of the Arts.

'The concept behind it is that litter is something we think is dirty and disgusting, but when it's turned into something beautiful, its value changes.'


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The project started with Miss Carey collecting small pieces of rubbish and categorising them by colour, but soon developed into collages.

'It looked like a colourful rainbow, and it looked great,' she said.

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'Just by doing that, it changed the identity of what it was – it went from being rubbish into this beautiful thing.'

Miss Carey, who lives in Portland Street, off Unthank Road, uses anything that she comes across – 'from crisp packets to shoelaces' – to create the collages, which she then laminates and turns into tags.

She then returns them to the litter's original home and hangs up to four tags at each location.

'I want people to feel they are getting something that others aren't, something special,' she said. 'I'm interested in how we do not notice litter on the floor but now the transformed rubbish is going to be noticed, appreciated and taken home.'

Each one has a smartphone code directing the tag's new owner to Miss Carey's website, where they can find out about the project.

'I've had some really great feedback from people who have picked up my collages and seen my other work on my website,' she said.

'I want to make people aware of the problems we have with litter, and to think about what they are doing when they throw things away.'

She said she thought her tags had found a receptive audience in Norwich.

'I'm hoping to take the idea to other towns eventually, but I think people in Norwich appreciate it.

'This is such a creative place and there are so many talented people here, so I think people understand what it's about.'

Are you taking part in a creative arts project? Email newsdesk @archant.co.uk

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