Gallery Walk — Garbáge: An Artistic Wasteland

by Habib Sabet | 4/26/18 2:30am

by Naomi Lam / The Dartmouth

In celebration of Earth Week, the Hopkins Center for the Arts hosted an exhibition curated by the Dartmouth ECO Reps, a presentation of student art that blended artistic design and environmental activism. “Garbáge: An Artistic Wasteland” featured works incorporating trash as a primary medium and theme, examining global struggles with pollution and waste management.

The ECO Reps, a group of first-year students interning for the Sustainability Office, put the exhibition together in hopes of raising awareness about the problems of waste management.

“We’ve been focusing on waste here at Dartmouth and how we can try to limit our waste and try to educate people on campus about waste generation and waste use,” ECO Rep Jason Liu ’21. “We hoped the show would drive that discussion by letting students come in and taking a look at what other students are able to do with garbage in their art.”

The exhibition displayed a wide variety of pieces, including paintings, sculptures and collages, which were laid out on the otherwise bare walls amidst the dull silver and white of the Hop Garage surface. Fittingly, the conservation-conscious exhibit did away with everything but the art. The plain presentation spoke to the overall message of the works, which transformed the discarded and mundane into beauty.

“Waste is one of the few environmental issues that everyone can plainly see, so it’s been really interesting being able to create awareness around it using these visuals and three-dimensional pieces of art,” Abby Bresler ’21, another ECO Rep, said.

Zakios Meghrouni-Brown ’18, whose work was featured in the gallery, relies almost entirely on scraps and discarded materials to create his art.

“I was really interested in the theme of abandonment,” Meghrouni-Brown said. “When a place is abandoned, it’s kind of left as it is, so you have all of these objects that are just sitting around that have some meaning for someone somewhere, or at least once did. I really like the personalities and stories embedded in objects like that and transforming them into the embodiment of something else, or using them to tell my own story.”

Meghrouni-Brown lives in Panarchy undergraduate society and creates much of his work out of materials and waste that have been discarded by its members over the years. His pieces use the personalities and stories of objects to tell a story of his own creation.

One Meghrouni-Brown work featured at Garbáge resembled a cabinet with wax on it.

“The cabinet was just a random piece of wood I found in Pan[archy], and the wax was from a random candle I found in the basement,” he said.

Other, more critical works denounced the problems of pollution. A piece by Ella Dobson ’21 — a combination of prints, watercolors and collage — features jellyfish floating among several muffin wrappers. Dobson explained that a friend had mistaken the trash for other organisms.

“The fact that plastic bags can be mistaken for jellyfish is a depressing reality,” Dobson said. “Turtles are literally dying because of that. This is what we’ve done.”