Beach Couture A Haute Mess

18 November 2022 – 25 February 2023

Beach Couture A Haute Mess

Photos by Stephen Wong

We don’t know what will remain of us centuries from now but one thing is certain: there will be plastic, lots of plastic.


Plastic pollution has become ubiquitous in our oceans and on our shores. Marina DeBris’ Beach Couture: A Haute Mess, is a collection of wearable pieces made from trash collected from the beaches and oceans. It makes visible, in grotesquely amusing fashion, what is often overlooked – but shouldn’t be. Ideally, viewers will be provoked to take some action in their everyday use of plastic items.


“With my work I encourage the viewer to question the use of single use items, and consider ways to reduce waste so it does not end up in our oceans and landfills.”

Inconvenience Store

Photo of the Inconvenience Store above was in Batlow, New South Wales 2022 as part of the Sculpture by the Sea Snowy Valley Art Trail.

Beach Couture: A Haute Mess is a touring exhibition by Marina DeBris, American-born, Sydney-based artivist. Marina began collecting trash during her daily runs on Venice Beach, Los Angeles more than a decade ago, simply in an effort to maintain its beauty. Fuelled by her growing concern for the ocean’s health, she began to turn the trash into art in hope of drawing attention to the alarming developments she was seeing on the beach.


Marina’s works have been exhibited in the US, Japan and Australia. The Cairns Museum are delighted to welcome Marina and Beach Couture to Cairns for the first time, particularly with our strong attachment to the preservation of the Great Barrier Reef here in the Tropical North.


The exhibition invites the viewers to engage with the idea of plasticity of the future. What can we do about the plastic pollution? How do we imagine the future? These ideas are presented at the exhibition and will be discussed at public events. We also ask you to express your ideas about how to imagine the future in a positive outlook. Your ideas will be featured on our social media platforms and in the temporary gallery itself as part of the greater discussion prompted by Marina DeBris’ Beach Couture: A Haute Mess.

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