From medium to message: how this art exhibition raises awareness on environmental conservation

In this photo essay, we feature a range of paintings and ceramic art on display at Gallery Manora, from the exhibition titled ‘Waning.’ Curator-artist Gomathi Suresh urges audiences to understand, decode, and act on environmental preservation.

Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 390 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

Located just off 100 Feet Road in Indiranagar, Bengaluru, lies a gallery specialising in ceramic art. Gallery Manora this weekend kicked off a month-long exhibition titled ‘Waning,’ featuring ceramics and photographs by four artists: Vivek Mathew, Shonali Madappa, Anubha Jaswal, and Gomathi Suresh (see earlier interview here).

The idea for the exhibition was hatched a year ago, says gallery founder-director-curator Gomathi Suresh, in a chat with YourStory. She is a ceramic artist herself, and the exhibition showcases some of her work using techniques like soda firing.

The theme of the exhibition is the weakening of nature due to global warming, pollution and rampant development. Charred and burnt trees, some with oozing gum, are reflected in her ceramic artworks, Gomathi explains.

“Many people unfortunately think global warming is irrelevant or only a temporary phase,” she cautions. But cities are witnessing dying lakes, and it takes concerted citizen efforts to rejuvenate them.

One of the speakers at the inauguration of the art exhibition is conservationist Anand Malligavad, who has helped rejuvenate lakes in Bengaluru through his Lake Revivers Collective. Gomathi says she is also influenced by the works of Bengaluru-based musician-environmentalist Ricky Kej, who was recently named Global Ambassador for Kindness by UNESCO.

“The exhibition is not about gloom and doom, but about the need to interpret what is happening to nature and come up with creative solutions,” Gomathi explains. Each of the artists in the cross-genre exhibition has responded in their own ways, with photographs of trees in autumn or patterns in water, or showing cracked earth in pottery.

The artworks are priced from Rs 900 to Rs 6,000. The artists show that photographs and clay can play more than utilitarian roles, and serve as symbols that inspire activism. The artists remind us that we can no longer assume “business as usual” and take nature for granted.

“Life may not stay the same as expected. But humans live on hope, and don’t give up. It is time for us to accept that the human race is more parasitic and greedy than other species. We need to begin with this ugly truth, face the harsh reality, and move on to progressive solutions,” Gomathi urges.

Consciousness of our impact on nature should be part of our daily lives, and every small step to reduce our consumption and its adverse impacts will help. “From deliberate to instinctive, our actions should control our needs and wants, and sustainably work for the good of the environment,” Gomathi signs off.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule, and find ways to do to your bit for our environment?

Gomathi Suresh, Gallery Manora

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