Pure Gold (or) Trash into Treasure


Starting in Hamburg, the design capital of Germany and then travelling all the way to London, Bangkok and now reaching Yangon. The event sponsored by Goethe Institute is not only for art lovers but also for entrepreneurs and ordinary people to get some ideas about “upcycling”, the concept of turning “trash into gold” or creating objects that are useful, beautiful and more valuable from rubbish. Pure Gold Myanmar is organized in cooperation with Hla Day and Chu Chu. The original showcase consists of 76 exhibits produced by 53 designers from all over the world with the aim of educating local people about the virtues of transforming rubbish into useful and beautiful objects.


Pure Gold Myanmar exhibition is open daily from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm to the public until January 6. The exhibition is free of charge.


It will be shown at Yangon’s iconic Secretariat on the Thein Phyu Road. It is 16 acre wides.

History of The Secretariat

It was built by Indian father and sons. After the father died, one of the sons continued to build and he was Who’s Who of Burma person and he was famous in Myanmar. There are 3 main buildings, built in 1889 and now it is over 120 years. The former secretariat is the most spectacular colonial-era building in Yangon. Designed as the administrative seat of the colonial government, this sprawling Victorian structure was disparagingly referred to by British residents as “bureaucratic Byzantine” in style. The single most significant event to take place inside the Secretariat building happened on the morning of 19 July 1947, just six months before Myanmar’s independence from Britain.


The current situation of the building

As construction workers and equipment shuffled around the sprawling compound of the Secretariat Building which is currently undergoing restoration, the atmosphere inside the main building was just as frantic.

Reason for Exhibition

We now have supermarkets and people don’t use normal plates, they use plastic plates, plastic bags. Often they use plastic bottles and throw them away easily. That’s the reason why so many plastic waste material goes into the rivers and then to the ocean and there they create a lot of pollution and harm. Here we don’t have the illusion that we will resolve the problem of rubbish with this exhibition but we create certain awareness that is also fun to show that you can do something good without paying much money and new materials.


Recycling is taking a discarded product or material and changing it into something of equal or lesser value than the original.

For eg, creating plastic thread from plastic bag is recycling.


Upcycling is using discarded or recycled material to create a product that is more valuable than the original.

For eg, heat fusing a cement bag to recycled plastic and creating a Chu Chu Masala Messenger bag.


The exhibition occupies four main rooms, including two workshops and two exhibits. At the entrance of the exhibit, a big golden pangolin made from bamboo and recycled newspaper and a giant dragon’s head – the main highlight of the exhibition, made from bamboo sticks, re-used rice sacks and plastic sheets – welcome the guests.

The first room : Chu Chu

The first room on the first floor is a workshop room set up by Chu Chu, a non-profit organization that creates beautiful objects from recycled plastic, rubber and other in Yangon. The workshop is full of handicrafts such as wallets, cardholders, belts, bags, bottle holders and decorative items that have found a new life after being rescued from the trash. The upcycled items include worn out tires and tubes, plastic bags, empty bottles, coffee mix sachets, cement bags, cloth of umbrella and so on. They also use traditional looms and portable back strap looms.

Goals : To help people live and make a living, to help the Environment, to create beautiful products from trash.

They displayed an artificial ocean, is full of plastic bottles and bags, damage the dangerous situation in the current to notice it.

Tires and tubes

Inner tubes are also used for hand weaving mats and animals. The tubes are washed and cut into uniform sizes, with the corner pieces slightly wider and angled. During the cutting process, the stem of the tube is removed, while thin elastic bands are created from odd sized sections. The weaving style for tire mats is the same as for Yabadeh products but it is easier because of the stretchiness of the inner tube and there is only one color.



There is a theatre opposite of the Chu Chu room.

The second room : Bonjour Yangon

The other room is a big exhibition produced by Bonjour Yangon. It focuses on creating traditional masterpieces and beautiful souvenirs, mainly from wood, bamboo and urban materials. The objects are mainly artistic, decorative items. Some are genuine art installations made from betel nut, bamboo and beans. A human form made from branches seems very real and the toys made from paper are so cute.

The third room : International Design Exhibition Space

The third room is filled with 76 beautiful objects that were made from garbage by 53 designers from all over the globe, alongside works of Myanmar artists. The objects are mainly furniture, waste paper baskets and all kinds of chairs and tables. Some are real art pieces. Some are pure art, some are designed to be usable objects which could be put to use anywhere.

The final room : Open lab and the exciting DIY stations

The final room is another workshop room but it’s for participating. They introduces the concept of “upcycling” to visitors by making artworks in groups; some transform old shirts into trendy ones, some make slippers from old used copper cables and clothes. A group of people were busy unpacking loads of boxes while others were deep into assembling the contents. Visitors can join a do-it-yourself workshop and learn how to change trash into treasure. Some kids could be seen putting plastic pieces on the beautiful dragon’s as part of the giant nagar artwork.

Local artists and artisans will demonstrate their expertise in upcyling for the duration of the entire exhibition and the visitors will be invited to try with their own hands transforming waste “into gold“at several DO IT YOURSELF Stations. They are preparing for a rare kind of exhibition, which is not usually set up in Yangon, the most populated city in Myanmar and the country’s economic capital. Visitors will witness how discarded car tyres, old newspapers, plastic bottles, and synthetic bags, can be turned into a valuable, useful art objects.

Objects made from waste products are already available in shops now in Myanmar and sell at a good price. They make good money. Our country has a huge amount of garbage and most of the people don’t have the knowledge to transform trash into useful things. So, people gain knowledge and ideas through this event. This kind of exhibition is really good and we need it.

People will get to know that we can create not only commodities from trash but also art and decoration items. By visiting this exhibition, we can see how they transform wasted into treasure.

9 tips for living with less plastic

  1. Bring your own shopping bag
  2. Carry a reusable water bottle
  3. Bring your own cup
  4. Pack your lunch in reusable containers
  5. Say no to disposable straws & cutlery
  6. Skip the plastic produce bags
  7. Slow down and dine in
  8. Store leftovers in glass jars
  9. Share these tips with your friends

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