Living in Asia for the last 25 years, American visual artist and environmentalist Ann Wizer has worked with painting, photography, installations, sculpture, theater collaborations and performance in Indonesia, Japan, and the Philippines. Wizer has always worked with debris as her art material, first from nature and more recently from industry. In Manila, in the mid-90s she fused her theater work with environmental activism in making costumes from plastic waste and using them in performances. Since then, for more than a decade, she has used consumer waste as her medium as a direct way to address environmental damage and to encourage poverty reduction.
Her current work centers on conceptualizing and piloting large experimental projects aimed at reducing environmental damage while creating compassion and livelihood for those living in poverty. These community “interventions” directly link environment, poverty, education and creative design solutions. In 2002 in Jakarta she started the XSProject where XS equals excess. This initiative was an out-of-studio experiment to involve poor communities in the development of simple solutions to problems of unmanaged consumer waste. By buying non-recyclable waste from trash pickers she designed and made new products at small scale NGOs and cottage industries, creating new income opportunities for the very poor, mentally and physically challenged. Another goal of XSProject is to raise public awareness of the many thousands of people in poverty who live in the global economy of waste. XSProject is now a registered non-profit and in its 8th year, supporting such activities as scholarships for children of the trash picker community.
Using lessons learned in XSProject, last year she started INVISIBLE in Manila, the second