ArtCan | Using Art to Buy Toilets — Artist Profile of Catherine Fenton
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Using Art to Buy Toilets — Artist Profile of Catherine Fenton

In 2015, WITP artist Catherine Fenton created a World Toilet Day Art exhibition with Nude Tin Can Gallery to raise awareness of the 2.4 billion people who don’t have access to a toilet. Fenton recently won the Mayor’s Pride Award for Cultural Innovation. She took a moment to tell us a bit more about the project.

By Catherine Fenton

I knew about the health issues of poor sanitation but I hadn’t realised the affects it had on society: women and girls facing rape and abduction when going to defecate in the open, children unable to finish their education due to illness, girls obliged to miss school when menstruating. (Editor’s note: you can read more on World Toilet Day’s website.)

SAMPLES OF ARTWORK CREATED FOR THE WORLD TOILET DAY 2015 ART EXHIBITION AT NUDE TIN CAN GALLERY.

Teaming up with UN.water we created an online exhibition to support their theme “Be a Thinker, Be a Sharer, Be an Artist” as well as an open submission exhibition at the gallery.

I gave talks to over 500 school children and got them to imagine not being able to have a wee at school or having to do a poo in the playground! Giving them funny toilet facts and details of world’s most expensive toilets we encouraged them to draw pictures.

Both the adults and children’s exhibitions were a great success and the images tweeted around the world by UN.Water. The money raised from a percentage of the submission fee and public donations meant that we were able to buy toilets through ToiletTwinning.org for a school in Haiti and for villages in Sierra Leone and Burundi.

It was great fun to be acknowledged at the Mayor’s Pride Awards with a Cultural Innovation award.
Catherine Fenton (in green) with colleagues at the Mayor’s Pride Awards, March 2016

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