Trash King Bordalo II brings the Koala to Italy, The Restart Urban Festival, 2020

The Restart Urban festival curated by the cultural association Noi Giovani* has just wrapped up its eighth edition despite the global pandemic. The three-day music and street art festival brought an event a little different than usual, and all in compliance with the strict pandemic rules.

However, sometimes you can bend rules and trash king Bordalo II decided to create a giant Koala in Italy! Not an animal that you would associate with Italy but the well being of Koalas has been at the forefront of all our thoughts and hearts since the devasting fires in Australia that wiped out thousands of Koalas. The 2019–20 Australian bushfire season has already been considered the worst in the history and a combination of record-breaking heat, record-breaking drought, lightning strikes, high wind conditions, ignited unprecedented raging fires across New South Wales and southeast Australia.

“The choice of the Koala, an animal so far from Italy, but so endangered due to environmental emergencies, shows how we are all equal and close to a planet that suffers from human choices and actions. The emergency COVID 19, even more, has made us understand how much our health is connected to the well-being of the environment in which we live, so we hope that those who stop to admire the work can understand the “criticism” of consumer society and choose to live more sustainably”. Cesare Bettini, director artist of RestArt.

Passing through via Boccaccio in Imola it will now be impossible not to stop and admire the giant 6m Koala, built with waste materials by the world-famous Portuguese street artist Bordalo II. 

Bordalo II creates his trash animals all around the world. The sculptures are formed out of plastics, car parts, and local waste found on the streets wherever he is. The sculptures are there to create awareness about plastic production and environmental issues.

The Koala was built with the help of the school students, and they are now proud to have their very own big trash animal in the inner courtyard of the school. The whole experience influenced the children of the Imola schools to find various sponsors to buy 4000 water bottles and deliver them to the students to eliminate throwaway plastic in the high schools of Imola and stop the one-use culture. 

The giant 6-metre high Koala by street artist Bordalo II and many other murals have transformed the outdoor garden of the Cassiano High Schools, IPIA Alberghetti and Palestra Cavina gym.

RestArt Urban festival is organized with the contribution of the Metropolitan City of Bologna, and with the patronage of the Municipality of Imola and the Emilia-Romagna Region, in collaboration with Imola Faenza Tourism Company and with the Cassa di Risparmio di Imola Foundation. The festival has been included in the Bologna Summer 2020 calendar, and for the eighth consecutive year, the main sponsor of the event was Avis Imola. 

* Noi Giovani is an association formed by a group of young people from Imola who, thanks to the RestArt urban regeneration festival, gave a new face to the city of Imola, choosing each year a different place to relive and improve. 

Photo credit Adrian Lungu



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