Scraps into art

Scraps into art

Students are turning old bikes into sculptures

May 26, 2011
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Bicycle wheels, an old guitar, and a variety of other scrap materials are used in artworks by students from Pak Kau College at 'The Big Ride' project
Bicycle wheels, an old guitar, and a variety of other scrap materials are used in artworks by students from Pak Kau College at 'The Big Ride' project
Photo: Youth Arts Foundation
Pity those old bikes. Most end up being used as scrap metal or rusting in landfills. Now, a group of students has found another purpose for unwanted bikes: they turn them into art. Students from Pak Kau College in Tin Shui Wai joined an initiative by the Youth Arts Foundation called "The Big Ride". It's an arts programme that lets their imagination run wild.

All they need are saws and drills. One group of students, who are from different forms and classes, is working on an unused old quadricycle retrieved from a bike rental shop. They're turning it into a sculpture, which will be displayed beside a bicycle trail.

"It's a great time for students to share their artwork with the public and promote safe cycling in Tin Shui Wai," says Barbara Chan Yim-fun, the school's visual art teacher.

The students meet every Tuesday afternoon after class to work together on their masterpiece. Their work of art allows a user to sit under spinning fan blades modelled after Da Vinci's aerial screw, while playing tunes on a disco turntable.

"I'd never thought of doing something like this," Terence Chong Ka-ho, 15, a Form Three student, concedes. "At first I thought a bike was just a bike."

The students experiment with all kinds of scrap parts to use as decorative material for their sculpture. These range from air-conditioner hoses to a broken guitar.

"Black and white aircon hoses are ideal soft pads for our chair," says Bearing Wong Chun-tat, a Form Four visual art student. "You feel like you're sitting on a piano keyboard."

Luke Ching Chin-wai, a sculpture artist working with the group, says: "It's been a big challenge for most students who have never picked up a saw or been to a hardware store before.

"But they've learned to think outside the box through trial and error. They've gained inspiration from the most ordinary objects."

"The Big Ride" comprises a series of bike repair, decoration and road safety workshops in Tin Shui Wai and runs between February and May. It encourages young people to reuse discarded resources creatively.

Doing just that is another group of students, 16 in all.

They are busy working on a string of innovative kinetic sculptures, which will be showcased during a cycling parade in Tin Shui Wai later this year.

It is hard to believe that their creative works of art were once just old pushbikes cluttering a storeroom.

The students have painted, stencilled and accessorised the seats and handlebars to make their bikes stand out from the crowd.

Form One student Kwok Ka-hin, 12, from Tin Shui Wai, has printed a recycling logo on a small trunk mounted to the rear rack of his bike. "I hope more people will switch to low-carbon living when they see this," he says. "I'll be riding my bike around to spread the message."

Form Two student Chan Ting-ting, 17, and her friend Victoria Lo Nga-sze, 15, turned their bike into eye candy. By sewing together colourful fabrics, they fashioned two gigantic hands stuffed with sponge as decoration.

"These waving hands are signs of peace and friendship," Chan explains. "We can't wait to cycle around and showcase our piece at the parade."

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