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Hong Kong Soup (2015) by Mandy Barker, Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester

At first glimpse you might think this is a 17th-century flower painting. But closer inspection reveals it’s a photo montage of a load of old rubbish. The artist collected trash from 30 beaches in Hong Kong and then categorised them according to the traditions and material culture of the city.

The lotus flowers she found were grouped together and manipulated into something beautiful. Elsewhere sticky rice packets and action hero toys make for similarly beautiful patterns.

Plastic waste pollution in our oceans is nearing crisis point and is often referred to as ‘soup’. Yuk. These pictures serve to remind us that much of what we may perceive today as beautiful has an impactful, even wasteful, effect.

The photograph is on display in Hong Kong Soup at the CFCCA until 20 January 2019.