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27.13.2018 / Japan, Art & Design, Participatory Art, Sustainability

It's a Wrap! Reflecting on our Sydney Festival debut

How many toys does it take to make Jurassic Plastic? With estimates ranging from 100 to 100 billion, the exhibition boasted a collection of over 100,000 recycled plastic toys from Japan and Australia.

Add to that over 35,000 people who visited and took part in the free activities, 1,650 participants who enjoyed the multiple workshop streams, and you get the picture! It was a space of non-stop activity. Local children also worked with Japanese artist Hiroshi Fuji to create four new Sydney Toysaurus' with the city's discarded toys collected by St Vincent De Paul.

During the exhibition, Jurassic Plastic was well and truly in the public eye. As well as the immense social media traction around the event, Jurassic Plastic also caught the interest of major national and international media presenters across TV, radio, and digital channels. Interviews with Hiroshi Fuji were published by Time Out Sydney and Crinkling News, as well as news coverage by SBS World NewsAljazeera and SBS Japanese. We also conducted our own interview with Fuji-San, ‘Iwakan’, which delves deeper into his own intent as an artist who has worked for many years to re-invent plastic via his creative practice and lifestyle.

As well as a place of play, the exhibition was a catalyst for a range of poignant conversations about plastic, and future solutions to reduce its consumption and limit its environmental impact. It was through our Up Late program and Guest Artist Series, with collaborators Wesley Enoch, Craig Reucassel, Deputy Lord Major Jess Miller, Liane Rosler and Stephen Mushin where these layered conversations emerged. Jurassic Plastic was one component of a larger conversation that continues to resonate with Sydney-siders, and international followers.

On the other side of the city, our collaborative project with the Sydney Opera House, Join the Dots, was also turning heads. Regardless of the 8000km distance and language barrier, this cross-cultural art exchange Directed by Frank Newman, connected thousands of children from Australia and Japan, where they made playful (and at times cheeky) digital art together!

Join the Dots was a pre-event of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s’ ‘Australia now’ promotion, launched at the Sydney Opera House by the Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop. It ended on a high with all sessions sold out in both Sydney and Ota City, Japan.

Join the Dots featured on Japanese National TV, on a range of Japanese language media channels as well as on the social media accounts of excited parents on both sides of the pacific!

Needless to say both projects were a huge team effort and we’re very grateful to everyone who believed in us and supported ArtsPeople to deliver both Jurassic Plastic and Join the Dots.

It’s also very exciting that Australia’s interest in Japan and appetite for interactive art experiences continues to grow. We’re currently planning a tour of Jurassic Plastic so that Sydney’s newborn Toysaurus get out and about. Keep your eyes peeled and stay tuned!

Words: Kathryn Hunyor



Jurassic Plastic, Vlad Da Cunha.

Join the Dots, Anna Kucera

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