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Saturday, 14 July 2012

Basma Batayneh Graduation Project: Waste Management in Amman & Recycled Art - Part 2

As promised, here's Part 2 of my cousin Basma's graduation project interview. For those that have not read Part 1 of this post, here's a little recap and background information about the project and interview:

My lovely cousin Basma Batayneh graduated last month from The University of Jordan with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. As part of her last year in uni, Basma had to work on an individual graduation project (the art degree's equivalent to a dissertation) that demonstrates the artistic skills that she has acquired over the past four years of her Fine Arts education. Basma decided that she wanted to use her skills creatively and not only have a project that showcased art, but a project that had a strong message behind it and that shed light and spread awareness on an issue that she felt passionately about. Thus, her graduation project focussed around the issues and reality of waste management in Jordan. Another important aspect of Basma's project was also using art to demonstrate the importance and benefits of recycling. All the art that was used was hand-made by her using 100% recycled materials! 

A couple of weeks ago, I sat down for an interview with Basma, to ask her about waste management and recycling in Jordan, and to also find out about the techniques that went into producing the amazing project. Part 1 of the interview was all about waste management in Jordan, along with pictures of her visit to one of the landfills of the country. Today's post, Part 2, will be about the artistic aspect of the project, focussing on the process of basically turning waste into art... Enjoy!

Basma with her beloved hand-made green recycling bin!

Basma and I surrounded by her recycled art.

What was the artistic aspect of the project about and why did you choose it?

Recycling, and how I was able to make different mediums from 100% recycled materials and how from a very simple idea, I was able to do something unique and interesting that I can use in several ways. When my professors first told us that we should start thinking about our graduation projects, I went home and I noticed that I had a lot of waste and clutter around the house, such as newspapers, old magazines and cardboard. So instead of throwing them away, I thought to myself why not recycle them and do something creative out of them. That’s how the idea started from there and I kept experimenting till I was able to produce something that I was able to use creatively to fulfil my vision.

Explain the techniques that went into producing this project.

In school, during art class, we used to always make our own papers using our own garbage, so waste such as paper and cardboard. We would cut them up into small pieces and mix them with water and vinegar. We then used to form a layer of it onto a net and flip it over and keep it to dry overnight, so that the next day we were able to use it as actual paper that can be cut and manipulated (draw on it or stick anything on it.). So I remembered this technique when thinking of this project, and so I recreated this using newspapers, cardboard and vinegar. For the big pieces that I made, I designed my own net with a frame and I would leave the paper outside to dry till the next day before I would flip it and get the final product. For the smaller ones, I would cut the paper into tiny little pieces instead. I would soak it in water till the consistency became dough-like and then I would add a bit of vinegar and repeat the whole process as with the bigger pieces using the net.
For the pieces with logos and writings, after uploading the logos and designs to illustrator, I would go to my friend who has a router for laser cutting and we would cut the logos and letters precisely, and from there I would colour them using eco-friendly paint.

The process of creating the recycled posters begins with mixing newspaper pieces and vinegar.

The mixture is ready to use when its consistency become pasty. 

The paste is then placed on a framed net.

After the paste is spread onto the net, it then needs to dry overnight.

Once dry, the paste is turned into a poster!
The poster is then topped with small newspaper pieces for texture purposes, and then the laser-cut words are added.
The final result after the words are painted.

How much time did the entire project take from start to finish?

It took me about 3 months. At first I went out to Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) and then I went to the landfill to film and get some interviews and talk with some sponsors. But for the art pieces, it actually didn’t take me much time. The most time consuming part was actually waiting for everything to dry overnight. But once everything was dry, it was just a matter of painting and putting things together. It all really is simple to make; it just needs creativity and patience.

Basma reused Nescafé jars as small lamps for her presentation by painting the lids white and assign green light bulbs to them.  

For the lanterns, Basma coated inflated balloons with layers of paper and vinegar and waited for them to dry overnight. The next day, once the balloons were dry and completely hard, she would deflate the balloons and would be left with a hard round object. Basma would then carve the round objects with the recycling symbol in the middle and add green paper and a light bulb in the back to create her own lanterns. Genius!

You have three art pieces dedicated to Cozmo, GAM & Green Eve. Why?

GAM: because they are in charge of waste management in Amman. I went with the people in charge to the site and saw how they manage the waste, and in general they were very helpful with providing me with relevant information and allowing me to interview them.
Cozmo (a large supermarket chain in Amman): because they have recently become very active in spreading awareness about the importance of recycling. They have established the first every recycling centre in Amman, in their very own parking lot outdoors. People now get their garbage separated and place them in the relevant recycling bins. They even have a bin dedicated to bread and leftover food that they recycle into fodder for animals.
Green Eve: obviously because it is a Jordanian-related blog that also promotes recycling and green initiatives, and I appreciate all that it stands for.

From left to right: Cozmo, GAM and Green Eve.

Basma's beautiful hand-made and 100% recycled Green Eve logo. Words cannot express how much I love this!

The GE heart.

GE logo comes to life with eco-friendly paint!

Talk to us about the feedback that you got for your project from your fellow students and professors.

The other students in my course loved it and found it very interesting. Many were surprised by the facts concerning waste management in Jordan; they were especially interested in learning about the Al-Ghabawi landfill. The exhibition was for two days, and I actually had three small bins set out, similar to the ones used to encourage recycling in Umm Uthaina by GAM. I knew that throughout the exhibition a lot of waste will pile up, so I was thrilled to see the bins fill up, appropriately, with litter by visitors or other students and professors.  
My professors were very happy with the project and they were glad to see that for the first time since 2002 (when the faculty was set up), a student did a unique project about recycled art that was never done before!

Basma's mini gallery before.

The mini gallery after!

Presentation time!!
Hope you all enjoyed reading Part 1 and Part 2 of my interview with Basma. I am very proud of her and her amazing effort; she beautifully and quite literally turned waste into meaningful art! She also proved that instead of throwing away what may sometimes be useless, we can actually use it to make something useful, unique and beautiful. All we need sometimes is just creativity and a conscious mind!

Anoud x



Jazi said...

I LOVE this post! What a great project Basma!! She managed to make it so interesting and captivating, mashallah. And I LOVE the Green Eve logo, I really want one in my room! Beautiful.
Alyazia xxxxxxx

Sagedah Saqalla said...


We at Jordan GBC is launching a waste management project and looking for young interested people to join in as a champions in our coming campaign.
would you please contact me by mail and if it would be possible to have Ms. Basma Batayneh contact number/ E-mail
thank you

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