DUBAI: An interior designer from South Africa, Mariska Nell, has introduced her own style of art at this year’s Dubai Design Week, which will run from Nov. 13 to 17 in the Design District.
As an artist and environmentalist, she shared with Arab News her passion for creating art out of waste.
“It started at a really young age, when I spent time at my mother’s studio making arts and crafts from anything that I found around me,” she said.
The inspiration that kick-started Mariska’s trash-to-treasure career in Dubai were the Nespresso coffee capsules that she found too beautiful to throw away.
“Once you find something to create out of waste material and single-use items, you are giving things a second chance at life,” she said.
The artist then started collecting all the capsules she could get her hands on.
“I needed to purchase a lamp for my living room and the idea to create a lamp out of these pods came to life,” she said, introducing her first official art piece that was made out of 913 capsules.
This lamp will be part of her “Coffee Addiction” collection which is included in her exhibit “A Million Bottles Per Minute” at the design festival.
“Why would I want to paint a whole canvas if I can go for a different medium? This led me to experiment and incorporate trash with other forms of art, creating a whole new medium,” she said, talking about the ideas behind the pieces to be showcased at the exhibit.
As a South African living in Dubai, Mariska shared her opinion of art in the Arab world. “I’m excited about it ... There are so many unique elements like the history and calligraphy that makes art in the Arab world really stand out.”
Mariska didn’t focus only on creating art, but on educating people as well, on the sustainability aspect of turning trash to treasure.
“Just pick something that is easy to give up, whether it’s a water bottle that you would replace with a water filtering system in your house, and go from there,” she said, explaining how she started a zero-waste initiative in her home.
“I know that what I’m doing is a drop in the ocean, but hopefully with more people being educated about this concept, we can create a ripple of change.”
The artist's works for Dubai Design Week will also be showcased at the Rove Downtown's Sustainability Corner from November 13 to 16.