An art project that began in the polluted waterways of Manila opens next week (Tuesday, 15 March) at the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney.

The exhibition, Dasmanila, of around 700 flowers woven from recycled garbage by Filipino women artisans, has been installed around the pond, next to the restaurant. It was conceived and designed by Associate Professor Rick Bennett from the University of New South Wales' College of Fine Arts (COFA) with colleagues and students.

Executive Director of the Botanic Garden, Dr Tim Entwisle, said it is inspiring to see such beauty created from waste.

"From a city whose waterways were once sheltered by mangroves, we have art that challenges us to take more care of our natural world," Dr Entwisle said.

Associate Professor Bennett was inspired by the Filipino women's painstaking work, while he was working at De La Salle College of Saint Benilde (University) in Manila.

The work was initially displayed in the Ayala Museum forecourt and then at a major shopping mall in Manila.

"The name of the capital, Manila, actually derives from 'may-nila', a translation meaning 'there are Nilads (flowers)'," said Bennett.

Two COFA textiles students, Amanda Smyth and Natika Newing-Stern, came up with the concept of using flowers in the artwork.

In addition to providing added colour and interest through the art installation in Sydney, and raising awareness of urban pollution, the Filipino women's products will be sold in the Garden Shop, helping their working lives to become more sustainable.

The event will be attended by Dr Entwisle, COFA Dean Professor Ian Howard and Consul J. Anthony Reyes from the Philippine Consulate General in Sydney.

The exhibition forms part of The Sydney Morning Herald Autumn of the Arts program, Sydney's newest arts festival with nature as its inspiration.

What: Launch of artwork Dasmanila When: 10.30am, Tuesday 15 March - 1 May.Where: Cunningham Garden Café and Restaurant, Royal Botanic Garden

For more on this and other overseas projects go to Omnium.

Media contact: Susi Hamilton, UNSW media, 0422 934 024.