BOAA – Finished Work

Sink or Swim is an art-making, project space about stewardship of the land. The project space was in the #MiningExchange in #Ballarat and the project making went for 7 days. Through the creation of two divergent installations, a plastic #dystopia and a pre and post-plastic #utopia participants explored how our current choices, as consumers, influences the future health of our local environment.  Accordingly, in this space, participants experienced the sensory differences in constructing an installation with all natural materials verses plastic based products and objects. The reciprocality in terms of positive energy transfer between maker and material was heightened with natural products.

Artist Catherine Bailey guided participants in this process. Catherine specialises in working with communities to create dynamic and responsive artistic spaces and pathways, which convey relevant environmental concepts, in the local cultural landscape.

Thanks to the #BOAA Team and to participants as well as the #BallaratBotanicGardens for the generous donation of the ferns.

Thanks to Emma O’Brien and Yve King for collecting their weekly family recycling for the project.

Thanks to members of the #CleanOceanCollective in Warrnambool, Victoria who donated some of the flotsam and jetsam. Other beach refuse was collected by the artist and artist support, Faye from China, from Discovery Bay which is also a beach on the Great South Coast of Victoria, Australia.


Participants making water-colour eggs for the 100 rare egg shell installation within the Sink or Swim installation


Participants making water-colour eggs for the 100 rare egg shell installation within the Sink or Swim installation


Styrofoam mines made with Styrofoam found on South Coast Beaches and recycled children’s toys. Some participants were surprised to learn that Discovery Bay in Southern Victoria is a beach littered with as much plastic as the #beaches in Hawaii featured in social media. And were also surprised that the styrofoam breaks down and the pieces then mimic food for fish, birds and animals. The consequences for us being that the fish eat the styrofoam and we eat the fish. The question here is are we also accumulating the the styrofoam toxins in our systems. Birds die of starvation because styrofoam has no nutritional value and is largely a toxic  substance which blocks the intestinal tract.


Styrofoam mines made by participants with Styrofoam found on South Coast Beaches and recycled children’s toys. In the back ground are the plastic coils used in cray pots in Victoria.


Colour coded Plastic refuse from beaches along the South Coast of Victoria.




A Plastic Dystopia or River of Plastic.

A Plastic Utopia

Artist Bio

Catherine Bailey is a multi-form artist whose work responds to place. Since graduating from the National Art School in Sydney, NSW, Catherine has been the recipient of three major art awards, Emerging Artist on the Rocks, Sydney (2006), The Waverly Art Prize (2007) and a residency at the Onslow Storrier Studio at the Cite Des Arts International Paris (2008) through the National Art School. Her work is held in private and public collections around Australia. Since 2011 she has initiated and facilitated several innovative and responsive public and community art projects culminating the Virtual Arboretum Portland, a four artist, interactive, installation project with public art outcomes.


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