November 19, 2008 / 5:57 AM / 10 years ago

Australian toilet art fit for the loo-vre?

A toilet bowl turned artwork, part of a public exhibition in Brisbane, is seen in this handout picture made available November 19, 2008. REUTERS/Arup Corporation/Handout

CANBERRA (Reuters Life!) - Australian water engineers put on an art exhibition with a difference on Wednesday, with an open-air display of decorated toilet bowls to raise awareness of the need to improve global sanitation.

The exhibition in the northern city of Brisbane featured about 100 porcelain toilets, which local artists decorated as part of a campaign to mark World Toilet Day.

“We’ve had decoupage, we’ve had them tiled, and painted, and covered in foil,” exhibit organizer Rowan Barber told Reuters.

“I’m just obsessed with poo, and it’s not going away. I think there is a viable career in poo, even in a global financial crisis. It’s all about awareness of the global sanitation crisis,” he said.

Barber, a water and sanitation engineer, said there was a serious side to the exhibition, with 2.6 billion people around the world not having access to basic sanitation, and with sanitation a crucial human development goal. Once the exhibition closes, the decorated toilets will be auctioned on-line, with the proceeds going to charity.

Reporting by James Grubel, editing by Miral Fahmy

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