Box World creator Warren Thomas at Ipswich Art Gallery. Mr Thomas' miniature model city is made from recycled materials and forms part of the gallery's summer program Construction Site which opens on Saturday, November 16. Photo: Claudia Baxter / The Queensland Times
Box World creator Warren Thomas at Ipswich Art Gallery. Mr Thomas' miniature model city is made from recycled materials and forms part of the gallery's summer program Construction Site which opens on Saturday, November 16. Photo: Claudia Baxter / The Queensland Times Claudia Baxter

Mini city made of cereal boxes took 14 years to construct

"WELCOME to my midlife crisis," says Warren Thomas at the entrance to his BoxWorld exhibit at the Ipswich Art Gallery.

The 62-year-old Tasmanian gestures to a massive installation.

It's a miniature city made almost entirely of recycled materials, comprising boxes and toy race tracks, model cars and bits of old advertising.

The artwork, which takes up a whole room, took 14 years to build and more than a day to assemble.

"Kids are just gobsmacked; it's a real eye opener," Mr Thomas says.

"You're talking about kids now that for a lot of their own amusement are sitting in front of the computer.

"They come to this and it's 3D; it's hands on and they go away thinking, 'I could do that'."

Box World detail by creator Warren Thomas on show at Ipswich Art Gallery. Mr Thomas' miniature model city is made from recycled materials and forms part of the gallery's summer program Construction Site which opens on Saturday, November 16. Photo: Claudia Baxter / The Queensland Times
Box World detail by creator Warren Thomas on show at Ipswich Art Gallery. Mr Thomas' miniature model city is made from recycled materials and forms part of the gallery's summer program Construction Site which opens on Saturday, November 16. Photo: Claudia Baxter / The Queensland Times Claudia Baxter

Mr Thomas says parents have been known to shake their fists at him after their children empty out all the cereal boxes, inspired by BoxWorld. But for parents, there is also nostalgia to be found in the mini-metropolis, with its references to defunct brands and pictures of long-outdated logos.

Children will be pleased by the modifications Thomas has made to the Ipswich display.

"Up to now, BoxWorld has been a delicate old lady: 'Please do not touch'," Mr Thomas said.

Now a ring road has been added around the work so kids can race their own cars. Within this road, there is a football stadium, a port and a looming city centre alongside factories, car parks and apartment blocks.

BoxWorld, part of the gallery's Construction Site exhibition, is for ages two to 12. It will run from tomorrow until January 27.

Entry is $3 a person; $10 for family of five.



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