Alfonso Sjogreen, Suzette Gabriel-Schoebitz, and Rafael Giovanola-Endrass at Suzette's opening reception

Suzette Gabriel-Schoebitz: From Trash to Treasure: Muong Ngoi, Laos to NYC (Sept. 6–21, 2019)

The world faces a garbage dilemma. Trash threatens to take over, yet we continue to consume. “I am one of millions producing trash daily,” says jeweler and activist Suzette Gabriel-Schoebitz. “I do not want to leave my grandchildren such a polluted world.”

Instead of letting trash go to “waste,” Suzette says, much of it can be repaired, reused, or recycled. Such is the philosophy behind her jewelry collection in her exhibition, FROM TRASH TO TREASURE. It began with pieces her clients no longer wanted. Rather than throw them out, she supplemented them with parts she found in flea markets, second-hand stores, and trading posts — turning others’ trash into renewed treasure.

Earrings made of plastic doll arms

Necklace made of computer chips

Necklace made of plastic creamers and butter containers

Keychain made from mac and cheese box

Included in the exhibition were Suzette's hanging "trash calendars." In January of this year, she began to track how much trash she produced with the goal of reducing that amount.

Hanging "trash" calendars

Accompanying the collection and calendars as TRASH IN NYC, a collection of photographs from Alfonso Sjogreen, documenting waste throughout the city.

Black and white photographs documenting trash through NYC

Cup reflected in a puddle

Trash can beside a puddle

Group of photographs of trash in NYC

The photographs served as a reminder of how much we consume, how much waste we produce, and how we often live side by side with what we've thrown away.

During Suzette's opening reception, we were treated with a special "trash mob" performance from the renowned German dance group, CocoonDance, as choreographed by the group's director, Rafael Giovanola-Endrass.

Dancers in front of Pearl River Mart

Dancers on the main floor of Pearl River Mart

Dancers in the Pearl River Mart gallery

Dancers goofing with Suzette and Alfonso in the gallery

The proceeds of Suzette's collection went to benefit Plastic-Free Nam Ou, which aims to set up garbage collection, recycling, and a disposal system in Muong Ngoi, an idyllic village in Laos which threatens to be overrun by waste from their booming tourist industry.

Learn more about Suzette in our interview with her.

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