Avian artworks by Delhi conservationist meant to create awareness on India’s bird biodiversity

This exhibition featuring avian artworks by a city-based conservationist is meant to create awareness of India’s bird biodiversity

Published: 15th March 2022 07:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th March 2022 06:41 PM   |  A+A-

Black-hooded oriole

Black-hooded oriole

Express News Service

When we visited The Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, on Monday, we could hear the mellifluous song of the White-rumped shama as well as the occasional twitter of the house sparrow. On probing further, we realised that it wasn’t coming from feathered friends chirruping inside the gallery.

It was, however, an attempt by conservationist and artist Rupa Samaria (49) to turn the space into an avian paradise through her artworks. Showcasing a solo exhibition titled 'A Bird Call', there were about 60 avian artworks that ranged from paintings on canvas to paintings on wood, as well as a series on terracotta art, on display here.

The exhibition, where the artist unveiled lively paintings of the myriad birds spotted in the Indian subcontinent, is not just a celebration of the beauty of these creatures but also an artist’s plea to save the many birds that are slowly becoming extinct due to rampant urbanisation.

"My association with birds has been from my childhood when I used to climb trees. I have always found them to be extremely unique. Through my paintings, my aim is to create interest about birds as well as awareness about the ways to protect them," shares the artist from Green Park. The paintings on display here feature the many moods, poses, and colours of avian species.

When you walk into the gallery - the exhibition, which was unveiled on Monday will continue till March 23 - you will come face to face with the Great Hornbill, the Satyr tragopan, the Apostlebird, and many such birds that are found in different parts of India.

"I had to do a lot of research for each painting. It is mostly because of the guidance I had received from fellow birders that enabled me to perfectly portray these birds," she said.

One will notice that most of these paintings are created using bright and vibrant colours. While on one hand, these colours are Samaria’s ode to the "strikingly colourful plumage", on the other, she uses bright-hued backgrounds to call attention to the plight of a few of these birds, especially the house sparrow. 

Awareness through colours

As her way of engaging the viewer, a few of Samaria's paintings are interactive in nature. The artist has two interactive paintings wherein the birds in the artwork chitter when you pass by them. Of the 34 species of sparrows that Samaria has documented through art, one of the paintings is installed with a recording of the chirping of the bird. The sounds are activated by tapping on the painting. 

Artworks of different species of owls that are on display here highlight the unfortunate fate of these creatures in the name of religion, especially during Diwali. Her terracotta carvings of eight owls, with their unnerving eyes that seem to stare back at you, address the cruel practice of owl sacrifice, imploring you to put an end to it.  

As part of the exhibition, Samaria will also conduct sessions - a 'Walk and Talk' with conservationist Hema Maira and one on storytelling on sparrows by Ananya Mitra - for children on March 20, which is recognised as the World Sparrow Day.

"At the end of the day, I am an artist. I love colours. But that is not just the message that I want my viewers to take with them. Under these vibrant hues lies the harsh truth of their plight that I want people to be aware of and address," Samaria concludes. 


  • WHAT: 'A Bird Call': A solo exhibition by Rupa Samaria 

  • WHEN: Till March 23; 11 am to 7 pm

  • WHERE: Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road


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