CHENNAI; “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four hours left to live,” said Albert Einstein. Stumbling upon this fun fact, eightyear- old Ahana Rhea Berkin was intrigued to read up on the nature and characteristics of bees, but the literature caused her much pain. “While I chanced upon trivia on the significance of bees in pollination and food production, it was disheartening to see various factors such as loss of habitat, climate change, plastic pollution and use of pesticides leading to its diminishing count.
I wanted to educate people on one factor and its effect — plastic,” explains Ahana, who took to art as a weapon to spread awareness on the conservation and preservation of bees. Many sweat-filled hours and weeks later, her effort reached fruition when her art installation ‘Beeconscious’ was displayed at The Marina Mall on Republic Day. Speaking about the project, the Navalur resident says, “I used my December vacation to focus on the project with the help of my mother Kumudam Berkin.
I completed it by the third week of January. My concept was ‘Trash to Treasure.’ I’ve used upcycled plastic generated from my home and neighbourhood. The materials comprise water-can tops, PET bottles and bottle caps. This will highlight the harmful effects of hazardous plastics dumped in landfills and forests; and their impact on bees and the ecosystem.” The art installation had two showstoppers — the bees and the hive. The hive had 15 densely- packed yellow hexagonal prismatic cells.
Each cell had beeswax in the form of all kinds of plastic objects, painted in brown. On top, 24*60-inch plastic bottles in the form of bees, painted in yellow and black stripes, were placed. “I wanted the illustration to paint a picture of a swarm of bees buzzing inside a hive. I used chalkboards showcasing the plastic materials that went into the making and facts about bees to educate people. This was also a way to encourage the audience to grow flowers that attract bees for pollination,” shares Ahana, a student of Hiranandani Upscale School.
For someone who’s been passionate about everything pertaining to art, DIY and craft since the age of three, there wouldn’t have been a better way to put her creativity to the best use. “I enjoy my art classes in school. Art came as a medium to channel my emotions and gave me solace. I am glad that it could be used for a meaningful cause. I hope to do more such awareness campaigns,” says Ahana. In December 2020, Ahana embarked on her maiden entrepreneurial venture by selling handpainted coasters.
She also celebrated an eco-friendly Christmas by creating ecofriendly Christmas ornaments out of newspaper. The artist has illustrated a children’s storybook, too, which is currently under the process of being published. More power to Ahana and her tribe. For we know their work will keep the planet breathing.
View Ahana’s installations on the Instagram page: @ art_tastic_me