Burnaby getting world's largest collection of flip-flop art

Can an environmental hazard be transformed into something positive — even beautiful? That’s the goal of Waste to Wonder, an awe-inspiring art exhibit being displayed in the Grand Court of Metropolis at Metrotown, from Aug. 8 to Sep. 8.
The Waste to Wonder exhibit consists of five life-size sculptures of Canadian at-risk wildlife (the narwhal, orca, bison, grizzly, and caribou), each of them made from recycled flip flops. More than 6,500 flip flops in total were used to make the sculptures, requiring 2,500-plus hours of work by more than two dozen artists.
Why flip flops? In recent years, hundreds of thousands of discarded pairs of the synthetic-rubber sandals have been found worldwide in bodies of water and along shorelines. They often are made with non-recyclable materials, and contain chemicals that are harmful to humans, animals and plants. Ocean Sole Africa is a Kenya-based social enterprise that “upcycles” flip-flop waste and turns it into animal art sculptures. Ocean Sole Africa handcrafted the custom Waste to Wonder exhibit, the organization's largest exhibit in the world to date. This and other Ocean Sole Africa projects not only create beautiful works of art, they promote conversation about environmental issues, as well as provide employment.
During the exhibit, each sculpture will be available for purchase through an online auction (minimum bid: $5,000-plus). All proceeds will be donated to Variety – the Children’s Charity. For more details, visit the auction kiosk at the exhibit or online at metropolisatmetrotown.com/event/waste-wonder.
“Ocean Sole Africa is creating beautiful, important work that entertains people while also encouraging them to think harder about our planet,” says Judy Black, marketing director for Metropolis at Metrotown. “We’re thrilled to be hosting their largest exhibit yet. I look forward to this and the other Waste to Wonder activities, and the positive impact it’s sure to have on Metropolis visitors of all ages.” 
In addition to the exhibit, many special Waste to Wonder activities will be taking place in the Grand Court, including a selfie station with an iconic Canadian beaver sculpture, artist demo / meet & greet, upcycle bracelet workshops, upcycle Kiehl’s workshop, plastics recycling drives, contest giveaways, and more.

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