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Plastic Art

April 01, 2019, 0 comments, on Lab Nilaya

Every generation is like a new college batch. We arrive, we go, in between we make a lot of noise and the noise we make impacts the next generation and the space around us - in this case a rather large one - the environment. Legacies have a long shelf life. So if we, as a group, a 7 billion large group, take a turn and it turns out to be a dead end - literally - it kills innumerable species, it takes a while to turn back. But it looks like in matters of plastic we are shuffling to turn around.
 
Tiny headlines in the corner of the backpage the world's newspapers are common: Whale Found With So Many Tonnes of Plastic in Abdomen. So Many Tonnes of Plastic Choking up Ocean Floor, Astronauts Find Garbage Collection the Size of an Asteroid in Space. When will we ever learn? When will we ever learn. Turn around. And see what some of us are doing.
 
Walking into Gallery Sumukha in Bangalore the other day I walked into another world. The artist, Praveen B had conjured up a conch shell with - what else? Plastic. It was beautiful in its terrifying message. This is what we have done to our world. I am not often affected by political messages here I was, unable to walk indifferently away. Our cluttered beaches of plastic bottles and bag came to mind and I imagined an ocean world long assaulted by all our misdeeds.
 
Another installation by Lokesh BH was an arrangement of cow dung cakes decorated with hoof marks and had an immediate calming effect. I was transported to rural spaces where urban stresses recede and a kinder way of life is possible. Further afield in London I had the pleasure of viewing the art of Phyllida Barlow who I cannot help but add, rather unfairly, is the great-great granddaughter of Charles Darwin, for she is distinguished in her own right, but there it is. She sculpts massive ungainly structures with materials like plywood and cardboard that take over a space, that you have to duck under, navigate, get lost in - a metaphor for modern living?
 
Now more than ever small communities of artists are blooming like daisies out of a brick wall that are working with their hands, creating still spaces, offering glimpses of hope. Like the World Art Community where artists - some of whom had other professions - create only with their hands. Looking at their work is like a shot of oxygen. The times they are a changing. It has been slowly and steadily. Enjoy the new art that is blossoming around you, the art that has a quiet voice pointing you in a cleaner direction.

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