Collectible Art

While living in Buenos Aires in 2003, Mathijs de Bruijne was horrified by the sight of "cartoneros" salvaging refuse from his wealthy neighbourhood.

"At the beginning of the evening another bizarre scene took place," he recalled. "Special trains drove into my neighbourhood, filled with people from the impoverished suburbs. They came, accompanied with carts and trolleys, to root in my trash..."

De Bruijne, having befriended many of the cartoneros, soon hatched a partial solution to their plight. He asked the Cartoneros to bring him unusual items which they found, sold them (for between $20 and $60) as "rare objects collected by Cartoneros" through his website, and gave them the proceeds.

[Among the "rare objects" collected? A "deconstructed doll," a broken knife, a donkey toy, holiday photographs, torn up wedding pictures and old sex toys.]

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