BENGALURU: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This definitely holds true in the case of Bengalureans who take scraps of waste and turn them into masterpieces. This World Environment Day, which falls on June 5, these artists speak about the origin of their art and how they use it to spread awareness about the green cause. Separately, hose pipes, wood, air vents and CDs are not something you would look at twice. But in an installation by Nicoline Rodrigues, all these items come together in a seamless manner to create a garden. “The idea was to give out a message that it’s easy to replace things, but do people know where all the discarded things go?” says Rodrigues, who works as a creative designer for a marketing company.
A mandatory clause by her adds a more nuanced layer of meaning to the creation. “You have to wear a gas mask to enter the garden. This is to show how toxic human carbon footprint is,” she adds. Rodrigues, who has a Masters in sculpture making from Chitrakala Parishath, gets most of her supplies from KR Market, which is like a “fun fair” for her. While some do call her art unpolished, she isn’t too bothered by such comments. “I want to shake people up from the bubble they live in and wake them up to the reality of things. If this continues, our future will be bleak,” says the 27-year-old who has previously created a 120kg dolphin out of discarded CDs.
Agrees Rahul KP, who is known for his steam punk art. He says, “It’s basically art inspired from industrial revolution, where the main material is metal scrap.” Rahul’s go-to hub for material is Shivajinagar. “I started to do this kind of art work to upcycle discarded material. But it’s nice to see others also come up with installations to create awareness about the environment,” says 32-year-old Rahul, who believes Bengaluru is welcoming of such artwork. Currently, he is working on installations inspired by the coronavirus.
More than a message, sometimes art also stands for a philosophy, says Binoj Balakrishna, whose installation ‘A Last Resort’ highlights how the city’s ecosystem has evolved. “The installation consists of a large water container as a symbol of the remaining water reservoir or lakes. On the surface, partially it’s still foaming and on those branches is a flock of migrating cranes with sprayer heads,” says Balakrishna, who used reclaimed wood, flexible tube, spray cans and rods for the installation. He continues, “It’s not about going plastic free. It’s also about being mindful about what you’ve done to destroy the city.”