Nga Trinh didn’t earn the nickname “Recycling Queen” because she knows what kinds of plastics go in which bin (although she very well does). But rather because in her 13 years of working at the Berkeley Public Library, she saw an opportunity for aiding in the creation of her origami artwork: damaged and deleted library materials. But for this El Cerrito resident, it’s more than just having access to old catalogs to bend, fold and shape into new forms--it’s also her message to other artists.
“You don’t need fancy, new and expensive materials to make an interesting and beautiful artwork,” said Trinh, a graduate of UC Berkeley's Bachelor of Fine Arts program. “Just look around your environment.”
Trinh’s origami artwork is now on display at the El Cerrito City Hall Gallery Space until February 21. Enclosed in frames are varying textures of multicolored recycled paperwork (mostly garden magazines) folded into flowers, animals and unique patterns. Her choice of using recycled materials continues to be a main component of her artwork for “illustrating the multifaceted interactions between man and nature, plant and animal, pattern, shape and color,” she said in her artist's statement, while also showing how art can be both sustainable and affordable.
Trinh, who came to the United States as a refugee from Viet Nam in 1975, learned paper folding as a means of making her own toys as a child. Now a 34 year resident of the Bay Area, home to many immigrants like herself, Trinh appreciates paying tribute to other culture's art, foods and customs.“These are important parts of who we are,” she said, “The more we know the better to bridge the gap of misunderstanding and ignorance about one another. And what’s a better way to show that other than in public streets, parks and buildings through art?”
You can learn more about Nga Trinh on her Facebook Page and find her artwork on her online store.
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