24 January 2022

An artistic inconvenience officially arrives in Batlow

| Max O'Driscoll
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Marina DeBris at her 'Inconvenience Store' in Batlow

Marina DeBris at her Inconvenience Store in Batlow. Photo John Riddell.

The Inconvenience Store, an award-winning interactive performance piece created by artist Marina DeBris, has launched in Batlow.

She has used items she found washed up on the beaches of Sydney to create her not-so-convenient store.

The hope is that visitors consider the “consequences of our habits and how we can change them”.

Sculpture by the Sea is the group responsible for bringing the piece to Batlow. It’s a part of the greater Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail, and is supported by a $4 million grant from the NSW Bushfire Local Economic Recovery (BLER) Fund.

The group hopes the trail will “create memorable and shareable experiences that showcase the beauty of the public artworks and their integration into the Snowy Valleys landscape while aiming to rebuild the economic and social wellbeing of communities in NSW after the 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires”.

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The first shopfront art piece has been leased by Sculpture by the Sea from a group of local Batlow residents who purchased two adjoining shops on the town’s main street in the hope of bringing life to the area.

Locals were reportedly excited and laughed at the absurdity of having the store of Sydney’s rubbish located in their town.

The piece has travelled to multiple locations as far away as Gladstone, in Queensland, since its birth in 2017.

Ms DeBris spent her first day in Batlow setting up the store alongside members of the Batlow Men’s Shed. She says Batlow is a lovely town with really welcoming people.

“I work solely in marine pollution,” she says. “That is my medium, and it’s really all about raising awareness about the waste we are creating and how it enters the ocean and harms marine life.

Marina DeBris at her 'Inconvenience Store' in Batlow

The Inconvenience Store is right in the heart of Batlow. Photo: John Riddell.

“I basically work off materials I find most often and that I think are the most problematic, and that’s kind of where I start from.”

Batlow Men’s Shed treasurer Mike Newnham says for the newly formed men’s group, involvement in community projects such as this is a primary focus.

“To be closely involved with this type of distinctive art project is a welcome opportunity to bring new experiences to the Batlow community,” he says.

“We believe it is the kind of event that will help put Batlow on the map and make people aware that we’re not just about apples.”

The Inconvenience Store will be open to the public for the next six months on Thursdays and Fridays from 10 am to 12 pm. Many of the region’s schools have already registered interest in visiting as part of their curriculum.

The work has been installed at 56 Pioneer Street in Batlow, and is the first of the Shop Art Projects planned as part of the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail, set to launch officially later in 2022.

The trail will stretch 100km from Adelong to Tooma and has received lengthy consultation from Snowy Valleys Council, an appointed local community advisory group, and the wider local community.

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