Sixteen young artists were hard at work, looks of intense concentration on each of their faces. Only the whirring of the fan and the occasional splash of a paintbrush being dipped in water disturbed the deafening silence.
“This is a Malabar Trogon,” said Jishnu B of Christ Nagar ICSE in a low voice, indicating his painting where the crimson shade of the bird dominated all the other colours. ‘Let the Wildlife Flourish in the Western Ghats’ was the message on his poster.
Jishnu and the 15 others had come to take part in the poster making competition for 14-17 year old students organised by Museum of Natural History, New Delhi and its local implementing agency Natural History Museum, Thiruvananthapuram.
Trees and hornbills peeked out of almost every poster-in-the-making, the theme for the competition being ‘Biodiversity of Western Ghats’. Animals found in the region also found place in many pictures. Abhishek P, a Class XI student at NSS Perunthani, for example, had brought the jungle alive in his poster with paintings of leopards, deer and the Western Ghats’ own Lion-tailed Macaque.
Some of the young artists had decided to give importance to not only the trees and big animals but also to lesser, but no less important, life-forms like amphibians and epiphytes. Shilpa Sivaraman of St Mary’s School, Pattom, had painted frogs, mushrooms and a dragonfly, on whose wings she had drawn other wildlife – deer and elephants.
The winner of the day had something bigger to look forward to – a chance to attend an international confernce at Hyderabad. He or she will be taken, along with a parent, to the XI Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which is being organised by the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India from October 8-19.
“The winner will have to present a paper at the conference and if he wins there, then he gets a cash prize of 10,000 rupees,” said S Abu, Superintendent at Natural History Museum Thiruvananthapuram.
He had expected more participants as the competition was meant for students from all over Kerala.
“This competition was actually supposed to be held on September 15 but it got postponed due to the strike that day,” he said.