More than 4,000 climbers have surmounted Mount Everest, the Earth’s highest peak that is located in the Himalaya Mountains in Nepal. Although one would assume that the act of climbing Mt. Everest implies a certain respect for nature and awareness of the environment, past climbers (as well as crashed helicopters) have left an immense amount of trash (speculated to be close to 50 tons) on Everest’s peak that threaten its ecosystem.
Climbers and locals have joined in an effort to clean up Mount Everest; so far, nearly two tons of trash has been collected and brought down. 15 Nepalese artists have converted this trash into art in an attempt to clean the mountain and raise awareness about the polluting of one of the Earth’s most staggering sights. Ranging from under twenty to several thousand dollars, these pieces travel in exhibits and gallery shows, bringing attention to an issue that directly affects those living close to the mountain. Additionally, a number of the larger installations are being placed in the major Nepalese cities as public art.
This project engages with many of the same questions that we tackled in our own project; by turning trash into art, do you effectively get rid of it? Does this repurposing actually raise awareness or continue to encourage mindless consumption? How does the media publicity affect the community? What are the social implications of selling these pieces to wealthy patrons who may or may not actually consider the environmental justice issues implicated in it? While many of these are unanswerable, they encouraged our discussion of trash art and raised our consciousness about the implications of our work.