SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 07: The sculpture 'Disposable Truths' by Marina DeBris is seen behind the artist on September 7, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. The Sydney artist created the sculpture from 1000 coffee cups collected at the MLC Centre over one month, to highlight how waste affects the environment. (Photo by Don Arnold/WireImage) *** Local Caption *** Marina DeBris


As Christmas approaches, it’s more important than ever to consider the quantity of waste we produce. We invest in vast amounts of food, but how much is discarded? How much packaging is accumulated in our waste? And how many pressies should we really buy, given how many items will be thrown away

Marina DeBris is a celebrated Sydney artist who encourages us to re-think our waste. While living in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, Marina was appalled by the quantity of trash that washed up on her local beaches. Since 2009, she has created art made from beachside rubbish. Her message is simple: to question the use of single use items, and consider ways to reduce waste so it doesn’t end up in our oceans and landfill

Marina’s recent sculpture Disposable Truths was commissioned by the MLC Centre in Sydney, who wished to reduce their building’s waste production. The sculpture is shaped like a tornado and made from over 1600 coffee cup lids. On close inspection, the lids are marked by lipstick smudges and smears of chocolate.

According to the artist, “the shape of a tornado is used to represent a storm of pollution and [its] impending devastation”. Her sculpture links our seemingly innocent moments of consumption with the epic forces of nature with which we play.

Another of her works, Inconvenience Store, was recently featured in Sydney’s acclaimed Sculptures by the Sea exhibition. Visitors encountered an installed store fitted out with items collected on Sydney’s beaches, including odd thongs, sunglasses, bottle caps and cigarette ends.

Marina’s work is making waves. Following Sculptures by the Sea, she picked up the Waverley Council mayor’s prize and the Sydney Water’s environmental sculpture subsidy. The festive season is a time of giving and consuming, but Marina’s art proves it’s also time to re-think.

What impact are your celebrations having on the environment?