Zero Waste: Doing It Imperfectly – Exhibition at Belconnen Arts Centre, ACT

Since finding my first drawer on the street a few years ago, I have been contemplating different ‘drawer’ projects. In this exhibition, I use drawers conceptually in relation to sustainability and climate change.

The first trigger for this project was the book A Zero Waste Life, which I found in a free ‘little library’ in Lyneham. The second was a Clean Up Australia e-newsletter that stated: “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly; we need millions of us doing it imperfectly”.

To me, the drawers symbolise global, systemic ‘boxed in’ thinking, a business-as-usual mind frame regardless of intensifying environmental crises. Nonetheless, I’ve found Canberrans are increasingly committed to doing something – however imperfectly and each in their own way – to help mitigate climate change. Hearing them discuss their lifestyle adjustments to live more sustainably has helped me conjure up these abstract images in the drawers, tinged sometimes with seriousness, sometimes humour.

I count myself among those trying to model this effort in my own imperfect way, by limiting the raw materials for my art to my street ‘pickings’. May these depictions of systemic complacency juxtaposed with personal commitment inspire you to refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle.

The exhibition was at the Belconnen Arts Centre, 118 Emu Bank, Belconnen, ACT, from 13 October to 26 November 2023. Located in the window gallery of the theatre, it could be viewed day and night.

To enquire about purchasing works from this exhibition, contact me via the form on the contact page. Arrangements can be made for pick up or shipping from Canberra.

Posing in front of the exhibition after finishing the installation

Works in the exhibition

Solar City



80cm in diameter

We’re supplying solar energy for ourselves and the grid. Link to the ACT goverment’s Everyday Climate Choices website, with information on solar energy systems and storage batteries.

Glass Half Full

We stay positive and do what we can, however imperfectly, to support sustainability and prevent a climate crisis.

Rainbow Veggies

We eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, sourced locally and in season. Link to the Weekend Notes article, Canberra’s Weekend Markets, by Sue W.

Prompting Mass Action

We take action on climate issues. Link to the Conservation Council’s website indicating some of the actions you can take to help prevent a climate crisis.

Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

We help our teachers pick up rubbish on our school oval using tongs. Link to the ACT government’s Everyday Climate Choices website, which provides information about how schools can become more sustainable.


We walk wherever we can for transport and exercise. Link to the ACT government’s Transport Canberra walking and cycling maps and guides.

45x53x13cm; 45x82x22 with skateboard

We’re going going gone EV. Link to the ACT government’s Everyday Climate Choices website for a wide range of information about zero-emissions vehicles.

Vegan Virtues

We eat vegan to help stop cattle methane emissions, inhumane gassing of pigs, battery hens, fish farm pollution and more. Link to the Vegan ACT website, which provides vegan news, events, benefits and ways to get involved locally.

Earth Links

We volunteer for many different conservation and environmental groups. Link to the Conservation Council’s website, which describes a range of conservation and environmental groups that you can join.


We recycle our electrical devices and components. Link to the ACT government’s Recyclopaedia, which lists the best ways to dispose of e-waste responsibly.


We collect, process and prepare native plant seeds for conservation and research. Link to the Australian National Botanic Gardens website, with information about the National Seed Bank.

Paper Cup Peril

We carry our own cup for takeaway coffee. Link to the ACT government’s Waste Management Strategy 2011-2025.

Worm Farm

We feed food scraps to our worms to reduce landfill and create our own fertilizer. Link to the Canberra Organic Growers Society article, Backyard Worm Farm Tips.

Photos from the launch

The launch was held on 13 October at the Belconnen Arts Centre, with a couple hundred people attending. Pictures from the launch are in the gallery below.

People starting to arrive. The window gallery is lit day and night.
Onlookers trying to figure out what sorts of junk I used in my sculptures
A professional photographer at the event asked me to pose in front of the exhibition.
The exhibition lit at night
Monika McInerney, Artistic Director and Co-CEO of Belconnen Arts Centre, welcoming visitors to the gallery for the launch

To enquire about purchasing works from this exhibition, contact me via the form on the contact page. Arrangements can be made for pick up or shipping from Canberra.

All works in the exhibition were created at River Studios, which is managed by Creative Spaces for the City of Melbourne.