Nguyễn Phương Anh, a 12-year-old student from Hà Nội Amsterdam School, thought plastic bags found their final resting place in the dustbin until she joined an educational project on plastic recycling.
Artwork made from plastic trash by students in Hà Nội. — VNS Photo Minh Thu
“We learned to reuse plastic bags and turn them into decorative objects,” she said. “It lets us show our talent and express our concern about the environment.”
Phương Anh is one of 15 students from secondary schools in Hà Nội taking part in the project that was launched by the Vietnamese Women’s Museum and the Australian Embassy in Hà Nội.
Rethink Exhibition opened in Hà Nội on Thursday to show the project to the public.
The exhibition focuses on promoting sustainability and highlighting the high level of plastic consumption in Việt Nam.
Featuring works from Australian artist Bianca Hoffrichter and the students, the exhibition gives visitors insight into our relationship with plastic. Importantly, it also proposes some creative ways to reuse plastics.
Hoffrichter is a contemporary artist who works in a variety of media to communicate her connection to the landscape of Việt Nam.
Her recent work creating wearable garments out of reused plastic was born from her overwhelming experience with plastic in HCM City.
Supported by the New Colombo Plan Scholarship, she has spent the last three months at Mường Studio in the northern province of Hòa Bình using traditional designs and techniques to work with plastic she collected during her time in HCM City.
“The Rethink Exhibition hopes to mark the start of a lasting collaboration, bringing to light the conversation around how we use plastics in our everyday life,” said Hoffrichter.
“We hope to start a conversation about shifting our habits to benefit the environment, and bring some awareness of the issue of plastic waste.”
“I think there are a lot of possibilities in connecting with traditional practices of the ethnic tribes in Việt Nam and looking to the past – to how we lived before plastic,” said Hoffrichter.
“I hope more exhibitions and events will continue this conversation.”
Vice Director of the Vietnamese Women’s Museum Dương Thị Hằng said the project is about looking for creative solutions; all the pieces that are made from recycled plastics are transformed into something beautiful.
“Several months ago, many posts emerged on social media where members of the community encouraged each other to use glass or steel straws instead of plastic ones,” she said.
“This shows our community is not only gaining greater awareness of the impact of plastics but also starting to take meaningful actions.”
“This activity will help students change their thinking, behaviour and social experiences.”
The exhibition’s organisers hope to send a message: we can rethink how we use plastic bags to create a more sustainable environment.
The exhibition will run until September 30 at the Vietnamese Women’s Museum, 36 Lý Thường Kiệt Street, Hà Nội. — VNS