[Province of Australia] My name is Sr. Anna Wiwiek DC. I am currently part of the Inter-Provincial Nausori Community/Mission in the Fiji Islands. I create works of art using weaving and cutting techniques on plastic rubbish, creating something useful that people can use daily, such as purses, laptop cases, pencil cases, mats, multi-purpose bags etc. Not only do I create, but I specially design them with a particular theme, depending on the occasion (e.g. Christmas) or something requested by a particular person, who likes the artwork and wants to place an order. Occasionally I choose themes that revolve around my world view, poems, stories, global issues and philosophy. I’m inspired by other artists and designers’ work.
I am aware of how this beautiful earth should be looked after and preserved. As humans, we each have the responsibility to care for and to maintain the natural world which God has created. As part of the living things on this Planet Earth, I take great care to collect plastic rubbish that has been left lying around our streets.
We often overlook many things surrounding our homes, our neighbourhoods. We see them every day, but often do not think about how we can make a difference. If we only stopped for a moment to think about it, to feel it, to grow to love it we can eventually help others to believe in something that is so positive and beneficial to us all.
In 2006, I visited the home of the CEO of “The Body Shop” in Jakarta, Indonesia. In her home I saw a sofa and many other items made of plastic rubbish. Her husband was really proud of that particular sofa because of the material used in its making. They are great believers in anything that can be made environmentally friendly. They are both staunch supporters of plastic recycling throughout Indonesia. They often promote exhibitions for this cause, in which I am involved as an advisor.
I was missioned to Fiji in December 2009 and started this artwork there in March 2010. After four yearsI have been able to convince some Fijian women and children that plastic rubbish can be converted into something very useful in our daily lives; not only do we keep our surroundings clean and preserve nature, it is possible to earn an income for women to be able to support their families. The women gain skills and the motivation to be more creative with what they see around them. They also learn not to be wasteful.
The first thing to be done is to sterilize or thoroughly wash the plastic. Unlike simple paper cutting, this work has a certain measure to the cut and design. Once cut, there is a special folding technique which needs to be precise for the ease of assembling. Once assembled, it is time to sew. It is very detailed work, but with perseverance and patience, anyone can create a piece of art from the recycled plastic. In our Local Community we collect plastic rubbish every day, in an effort to contribute to the saving of our earth. “Act locally.”
I have received a lot of positive feedback from people who are poor, especially from the women and children here in Fiji. I am happy that they enjoy this craft and the contribution they can make to beauty, and to making our Earth a better place for all of life. We can also contribute to peace, to greater public health and a reduction in hunger by doing something that will benefit everyone.
Peace to lovers of Planet Earth.
Sister Anna Wiwiek, DC