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That’s rubbish! No, it’s art!

Have you ever climbed Mount Everest? More than 4,000 people have and if you are one of them then you’ll have seen the astounding amount of rubbish, including old ropes, oxygen cylinders, broken tents and more, that lay discarded at the top.

Now, a group of artists have transported eight tonnes of this rubbish down the slopes, using 75 yaks and 65 porters, over 2 summer expeditions. The rubbish was then turned into 75 sculptures and works of art to highlight the Everest littering issue.

The exhibition, using unusual art and craft materials, was commissioned by the ‘Everest 8848 Art Project’ and is now on display in Pokhara, after being showcased in Kathmandu. Astonishingly, the rubbish used even included the remains of a helicopter which crashed whilst carrying food for Italian climbers in 1974. This has now been transformed into a sculpture of the Hindu God Ganesh.

Project organizer Kripa Rana Shahi explained that the purpose of this project was two-fold; “We thought this would help promote the artists as well as contribute to making Everest clean. We were happy to get the trash and (the waste collectors) were happy to get rid of it.”

Among the fifteen Nepalese artists who spent 1 month preparing the pieces was painter and poet Sunita Rana. Sunita created a work of art that used aluminum drinks cans to create medals in signification to the bravery of the mountaineers who scale Everest.

Wongchu Sherpa, the Everest Summiteers Association president, said, “As the word on the Everest garbage spread, it tarnished the image of our country. I was saddened when the foreigners talked about Everest as if it were a dumping site.” He has recommended that any climber found littering is banned from climbing for 5 years.

Several of the pieces have already been sold and the artworks on offer range in price from £12 to £150,000.

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