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The world’s cities reimagined

We built these cities on toilet rolls.
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Nov 17, 2016
Once a toilet roll has served its purpose, what do you do with it? Put it in the recycling? Or set about using it to create some breath-taking art? Paris-based artist Anastassia Elias opted for the latter this World Toilet Day.

From London to Sydney, Toronto to Timbuktu, cities from across the globe have been reimagined – using humble toilet rolls – in a special art work for WaterAid.

And why cities I hear you ask? This World Toilet Day – 19 November – we're talking about the state of the world's toilets. Our new report reveals that even though most of us now live in cities, they can be terrible places to go to the bathroom.

Armed with just a pair of scissors, glue and tweezers, artist Anastassia Elias has created ten mesmerising tiny cityscapes inside Andrex® toilet rolls to raise awareness of the 2.3 billion people without access to a safe, private toilet.

Photos: WaterAid/Thierry Bal

For Anastassia, the idea of working with the toilet paper roll came naturally. She said “I have always enjoyed experimenting with materials that people might otherwise throw away."

"People sometimes find it surprising that I make art out of such an ordinary, everyday household item but I think their size and my use of perspective helps to draw people in to another world.”

Watch Anastassia at work in this short film.

The toilet paper rolls depict cityscapes from both developing and developed countries for a good reason – while cities like London, New York, Sydney and Toronto are all built on safe sanitation systems that protect their inhabitants from disease, many others lack the simplest of resources.

Photos: WaterAid/Neil Wissink

"I hope the exhibition will help raise awareness of the staggering 700 million people living in towns and cities across the world without access to a toilet, something which so many of us take for granted,” Anastassia said.