Empty beer cans, bottles, utensils, old rope, broken tent parts and discarded mountaineering equipment are just some of the trash items abandoned on the slopes of Mount Everest every year.
A group of Nepalese artists are raising awareness of the growing litter problem on Mount Everest by turning this trash into art. Over 75 unique art sculptures have been commissioned as part of the Mount Everest-8848 Art Project, “an art and sculpture symposium on transforming waste materials collected from Mount Everest camps,” according to the group’s Facebook page.
The symposium is the work of The Art Club Nepal, a branch of Da Mind Tree (DMT), an event management and research group. The Art Club Nepal is currently exhibiting the art in the central tourist hub of Pokhara and hopes to eventually install the pieces in the Everest region for permanent display.
Fifteen visual artists and five guest artists were selected for the one-month upcycling project, transforming 1.5 tons of sometimes decades-old trash into museum-ready treasures. The Everest waste was donated to the project by the Everest Summiteers’ Association (ESA), an alliance of climbers who have successfully conquered Everest. Sixty-five ESA mountaineers, along with help from 75 hard-working yaks, collected and transported the refuse during the springs of 2011 and 2012 as part of their “Save Mt. Everest” clean-up campaign.
Mount Everest, a UNESCO World Heritage site, attracts hundreds of climbers every year who hope to scale the iconic 29,028-foot Himalayan Peak. The popularity of the site has led to a growing influx of visitors. “The enormous increase in visitors to the Everest region in recent decades has brought serious strains and severe negative effects on the sensitive environment of Mt. Everest itself as well as along the many popular trails of Sagarmatha/Everest National Park,” says the ESA website.
To learn more about the Everest art project and see more pictures of trash-turned-art, visit the group’s Facebook page.