30 June 2023

Busted phones, broken toys and severed barbie transformed into art exhibition winner

| Oliver Jacques
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Ryder Billing next to his winning art

Ryder Billing alongside his winning entry Prime Eagle. Photo: James Billing.

St Joseph’s Jerilderie primary school student Ryder Billing has transformed bits of broken mobile phones, toys and a severed barbie doll into an eagle-shaped sculpture and winning entry at the Murrumbidgee Council Waste to Art community competition.

The contest was devised by council to encourage everyone to reduce, reuse and recycle, and through this, challenge attitudes about the things we throw away.

Residents were invited to convert rubbish into some form of art and have their creation judged in one of two categories: preschool/primary school and high school/community. There were 70 entries in total and the best ones are on display at the Kerri Weymouth Art Studio and Gallery in Coleambally. The exhibition will move to Darlington Point and Jerilderie in the coming weeks.

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Ryder, aged nine, took out the youngsters’ category with his design Prime Eagle, while 17-year-old Finley High student Travis Lawton was judged to have the equal best high school/community entry with his art Long Horns, a bull’s head design made from scrap metal. Honours were shared for this category with Coleambally’s Heather Goudie for her work titled Nestling’s Feedtime.

“I was lucky enough to be able to do a workshop with Andrew Whitehead (maverick Urana artist), where I made this sculpture,” Travis said. “The agriculture background of our area is what inspired me to make a bull’s head.”

A scrap metal bull head sculpture

Travis Lawton’s winning entry Long Horns. Photo: Kerri Weymouth.

Ryder said: “An eagle in its nest was created with junk and e-waste. I wanted to explore taking apart old mobile phones and old broken toys to make an eagle because we always see them flying around our area in the sky.”

Curator and artist Kerri Weymouth said the exhibition had been popular so far.

“Kids have really liked it, we’ve had a few school groups come in – Yanco school this week. They pick their favourites, they’ve been writing their appreciation in the visitor’s book.”

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Murrumbidgee Council mayor Ruth McRae said this exhibition focused on reused and recycled materials and so was an important part of council’s education campaign to challenge people’s views on what’s being sent to landfill.

“The project supports our strategy of improving how we manage waste in line with the July start to the council-wide collection of organics (FOGO), recycling and garbage,” she said.

“It builds on the circular economy strategy, which focuses on extending the useful life of products and keeping them out of the landfill, particularly by recycling, composting and reusing.

“It really does challenge our attitudes about things that may have otherwise been thrown away. And what better way to do that than through art?”

Heather Goudie with her artwork

Heather Goudie won the community award for Nestling’s Feedtime. Photo: Supplied.

Some artworks will be for sale. If you like what you see, Murrumbidgee Council can put you in touch with the artist.

Residents are invited to vote for their favourite artwork at the exhibition. The People’s Choice Award will be announced at the end of the Jerilderie exhibition.



Winner: Ryder Billing – Prime Eagle
Highly Commended: Milla Rorato – Winter Blooms
Highly Commended: Coleambally Preschool and Long Day Centre – We Made Pink Paper

High School/Community

Winners: Travis Lawton – Long Horns and Heather Goudie – Nestling’s Feedtime
Highly Commended: Flying High – Gail Hibbert
Highly Commended: Wasted Fortune – Bridgett McNeilly


Coleambally – 22 June to 4 July, 2023
Kerri Weymouth Art Studio & Gallery, 25-27 Brolga Place, Coleambally
Open from 10 am to 4 pm Tuesday to Thursday and 2 pm to 5 pm on Friday

Darlington Point – 7 to 21 July 2023
Murrumbidgee Shire Hall, Carrington Street
Open from 10 am to 3 pm Tuesday to Friday
Hosted by Western Riverina Arts

Jerilderie – 25 July to 8 August 2023
The Willows, 11 Powell Street
Open from 10 am to 3 pm Tuesday to Friday
Hosted by Western Riverina Arts

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