Delhi's weather fluctuations gets creative responses

While it is mostly policymakers who have the solutions to these issues, artists from around the world have made it a point to draw attention towards this impending catastrophe through their works.

Published: 05th May 2022 09:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th May 2022 11:04 AM   |  A+A-

A photograph from 'Imagined Homeland'

A photograph from 'Imagined Homeland'. (Photo| EPS)

Express News Service

The rain and hailstorm experienced in parts of Delhi on Wednesday has been a respite given the strong heatwave that gripped the city last week. However, one can’t ignore that the mercury had risen above 43 degrees Celsius on Friday, making it the all-time high temperature in April.

The variations in temperature as well as increasing heatwave spells in the subcontinent are consequences of climate change. While it is mostly policymakers who have the solutions to these issues, artists from around the world have made it a point to draw attention towards this impending catastrophe through their works.

Contemporary Indian artists, too, have been working across mediums to create artworks that explore the human-nature relationship, hence directing attention towards soaring temperatures, disappearing biodiversity, diminishing green cover, and the increasing human impact on the environment. 

A commentary on the present

Artists have the potential to create striking imagery, one that stays with the viewer for years. To illustrate art's impact, one can have a look at Gigi Scaria's recent body of work that highlights issues of overconsumption and the man-made changes that affect the environment. The artist's recent untitled work (as a part of Vadehra Art Gallery) at India Art Fair 2022 highlights the "manufactured human-ness alongside his ongoing environmental concerns".

The artist has intentionally tilted this erect brass sculpture of a building to one side. "My concerns are always about 'mindless making', whatever that may be. The construction sites are a prime example. Probably, nature has much more powerful ways of dealing with whatever we do. A small plant can very well collapse an entire sculpture," explains the Noida resident.

Scaria recently unveiled another project titled 'Elevator from a No Man's Land' at KHOJ's Air Expo 2022 - it was part of their project 'Does the Blue Sky Lie?' that addresses issues surrounding air toxicity - that focused on similar concerns.

In another recent series of esthetical photographs, ‘Imagined Homeland’ by Sharbendu De, the photographer showcases how "alienation of humans from nature is calamitous". The photographs capture moments from the lives of the people from the indigenous Lisu community, who live inside the jungles of Namdapha in Arunachal Pradesh.

The quaint and picturesque images, all in shades of blue, vividly bring forward the values of this community while also generating a larger sentiment on nature’s unfettered importance in our lives. In a similar vein, origami artist Ankon Mitra's 'In the Forest of the Mind' is where he takes a mythological route to bring forward the interconnectedness of humans and nature, which, if flouted, will result in a dystopian world as exhibited in the works of Kolkata-based contemporary visual artist Bholanth Rudra’s paintings.

"I feel like art is a visual language and a medium of protest. For ages now, man, for the betterment of his lifestyle, has been breaking mountains and chopping forests to develop towns and cities. However, in destroying the numerous trees that have been growing on this earth for several years, we will even lose the oxygen that we need to breathe. In this development, we are harming each other. I feel that it is necessary to create a balance so as to live a better and flourishing life," says Rudra. 

AI art to showcase climate change

In recent times, creative practitioners have been broadening the horizons of art by incorporating technology so as to create works that are not only appealing but also educative. Tools such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and more are considerable mediums to create immersive pieces that can draw attention to important issues. 

Substantiating the same is 'Whale Tales' - it is a storybook containing AI-generated imagery, a recent exhibit that throws light on the role that whales play in addressing climate change. "When we kill one whale, it is close to killing 1,700 trees because that is how much carbon one whale removes from the planet. Close to 50 thousand whales are killed every year. Imagine the impact," says Uma Khardekar.

Khardekar has co-created this project with Arnab Chakravarty, Nikita Teresa Sarkar, Padmanabhan J, and Sayak Shome during a fellowship with Bengaluru-based BeFantastic, an organisation that works at the intersection of tech and art. The book, meant for both children and adults alike, seeks to sensitise and educate people about the importance of fauna species in our collective ecosystems.

"We have created three characters in this book that are based on real-life whales that researchers have been observing. We developed a story around that and then used AI to take the story ahead," explains Khardekar. 

Through 'Weeping Farms' and '2030 Net Zero, 2022', the artist duo Thukral and Tagra - Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra - have taken the route of game design to strike a debate on the climate crisis. Players get to shadow a woman farmer and know her battles to survive, while the latter allows the player to save resources and balance the temperature of the earth through the cards, each thus extending a lesson on environment stewardship.

Works like such do not only spread awareness among citizens but also carve a space for dialogue wherein individuals have a scope to revisit their relationship with the environment, thereby re-imaging their realities and the future, a requisite in times of exigency like such. 


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