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Jackie Chan brings upcycled art exhibit to The Leonardo

The centerpiece of the Green Hero exhibit.

SALT LAKE CITY — International action movie star Jackie Chan has been using the same bar of soap for eight months.

The martial artist and environmental activist began traveling with his own toiletries after considering the packaging waste involved in using hotel soaps and shampoos. He brings his own slippers too, he told reporters at The Leonardo on Thursday morning, and has been known to clean the floors of public bathrooms with used paper towels.

“Sometimes my colleagues [say], ‘What’s Jackie doing in the bathroom? He never comes out,'” Chan said during a panel discussion moderated by Mario Capecchi. “I’m cleaning.”

Chan is the founder of the Jackie Chan Creation and Art Center, an international artists’ collective focused on upcycling and sustainability. The collective’s work will be on display at The Leonard from Jan. 26 – April 28 as part of the museum’s new “Jackie Chan: Green Hero” exhibit. Each of the 18 pieces featured is made of repurposed props and waste from the sets of Chan’s movies.

“Small changes in our daily lives can have a global impact,” Chan wrote in a press released issued by The Leonardo. “Everyone can be a ‘Green Hero’ if they just take action. It’s advantageous for our cultures to come together and innovate for solutions that improve our world. And I’m excited to kick off this discussion in Utah.”

The Leonardo exhibit will also feature a hands-on station where visitors can create their own artwork from recyclables, a theater showing National Geographic’s “Jackie Chan: Green Hero” documentary and a video message from Chan to museum guests.

“Jackie Chan has challenged each and every one of us to become ‘Green Heroes’ and make a difference,” said Alexandra Hesse, Executive Director of The Leonardo. “The Leonardo has accepted this challenge and is inviting the community to take individual and collaborative action. Utah’s unique culture of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship make it the ideal launching pad to bring the exhibition — and the important discussion about environmental stewardship — to both our own community and the US.”

Chan also paid a visit to students at Glendale’s Mountain View Elementary School, which has the strongest recycling program in Salt Lake City School District. He delivered a short message to an enthusiastic crowd before students presented him with posters they had made about what being a “green hero” means to them.

“You’re the future,” Chan told the students. You have to save the planet, you have to save your own country — you have to save your own village. Right now you’re still very young … Right now, when you walk around your school or your street and you see rubbish, throw it in the rubbish can. When you’re home, help your mother and father.”

“All of you are green heroes if you fight helping your own village, helping your father, helping your school,” Chan finished.

You can get tickets to see the Green Hero exhibit on The Leonardo’s website.