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Friday, August 19, 2022
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    One man’s trash is another man’s art

    James Kon

    Design and technology teacher from Sengkurong Sixth Form Centre Mohammad Al Amin Afiq Safwat bin Abarahan was adjudged the winner of the ‘Trash to Treasure’ Competition with his unique creation Happy Pelican, made out of trash, at a prize presentation ceremony at the Musyawarah Hall of the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas yesterday.

    Minister of Development Dato Paduka Awang Haji Mohd Juanda bin Haji Abdul Rashid presented the prizes.

    Mohammad Al Amin Afiq Safwat, explaining how he came up with the idea, said, “I am a design and technology teacher.

    “I often teach and encourage students to make use of recyclable and available materials, and I came up with the idea to use what was available around me – the design was not of a pelican to begin with.”

    Eventually, he said, “It’s about creating an art piece that can be part of an installation on the beach where the public can appreciate it.”

    He revealed that Happy Pelican is made out of steel, bike parts and plastic spoons and bottles.

    The bike parts make up most of the sculpture’s main body – the seat forms the pelican’s beak, the tongue came from a brake light and the body is the basket. The rest is made up of plastic spoons and bottles collected from waste.

    Mohammad Al Amin Afiq Safwat bin Abarahan with his winning ‘Happy Pelican’. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD AL AMIN AFIQ SAFWAT
    Minister of Development Dato Paduka Awang Haji Mohd Juanda bin Haji Abdul Rashid in a group photo. PHOTOS: JAMES KON

    “So I didn’t buy anything to build Happy Pelican. The biggest challenge was to make use of only things around me. It’s a gentle reminder to recycle and upcycle. I spent eight hours each day to complete the sculpture in three days.”

    On selecting the design for Happy Pelican, he said, “I want it to symbolise nature. I grew up loving the environment by watching birds, and then I watched the movie Deepwater Horizon which showed pelicans dying. I want to convey the message that with unpolluted water, animals can live freely. We can do our part by not destroying the wildlife’s habitat.

    “I want the public to realise that we always see scrap materials as waste, but we can turn that into something beautiful. By creating the art of Happy Pelican, I hope I can change the people’s minds and that it leaves an impression.”

    After emerging the winner, Mohammad Al Amin Afiq Safwat said, “Alhamdulillah, I feel blessed for winning today. I knew that with the time limit and pressure, I needed my family and students’ support to keep me going.” He walked away with BND1,500.

    He hoped that the competition can be held annually and involve students from different levels.

    In second place, receiving a cash prize of BND1,000, certificate of achievement and tokens of appreciation was Anak Brunei, with their treasure: The Gong. Meanwhile, Team Trashurecopter took third place and received BND500 with their treasure design of a  Trashurecopter.

    Three consolation prizes went to: Mini Human Lamp Stand created by The 3 Crews; Multi Functional Storage Set by Khairunnasibah Haji Abdullah; and Horse Carriage by Nassaruddin Haji Awang Osman. The consolation prize winners received BND150, certificates and tokens of appreciation.

    The ‘Trash to Treasure’ Competition was organised by the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation, Ministry of Development, and supported by the MYCE Climate Action Week Committee, in conjunction with the Brunei Mid-Year Conference and MYCE. Open from April 30, it garnered 23 submissions.

    The competition aimed to raise public awareness on the potential to repurpose waste materials creatively or upcycle them into functional arts or sculptures. It also addressed the importance of the concept to reuse and encouraged the public to consider alternative ways, apart from direct disposal as a measure for waste reduction.

    The treasures will be displayed at the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex throughout the Eco Festival, from tomorrow until July 3.

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