From imagination to impact: artists spark dialogue to protect the environment

By Madanmohan Rao|7th Mar 2020
In Part II of our photo essay on the Whitefield Art Collective, we showcase more artworks along with artist insights on creativity and impact.
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Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 455 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.


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The fifth festival edition of the Whitefield Art Collective (WAC) is wrapping up today at VR Bengaluru, with the theme of ‘Sustainability.’ See Part I of our photo essay and interview with curator Sumi Gupta here – as well as our coverage of the earlier editions from 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016.


Some of the displayed artworks are priced from Rs 50,000 to Rs 35 lakh. Exhibits showcased in this two-part photo essay include the VR Art Car, painted by the Bengaluru-based women and trans-women art collective, Aravani Art Project. Art facilitation at the festival was managed by ArtFlute and Dream-a-Dream.


“We have handpicked the artworks at WAC 2020 to explore the multiple facets of sustainability,” explains Padmaja Nagarur, CEO of art experience platform ArtFlute, in a chat with YourStory. For example, the installation of Ajanta Caves by Mumbai-based artist Bandana Jain has a resounding message of conservation of cultural heritage.


The Humpback Mahseer by the artist duo of Bangalore Creative Circus raises awareness about the conservation efforts by The Wildlife Association of South India (WASI). “Every work of a young artist at WAC is a personal retelling of their connection with sustainability and an invitation for the audience to engage with a larger dialogue,” Padmaja says.


The festival includes a cinema screening, panel discussions, art bazaar, and children’s art competition. Children aged six and above were invited to transform waste from their homes into works of art. This helps overcome the wasteful "use and throw" attitude that is so prevalent these days.


"As an architect I am often caught between the large scale consumption of materials and non-sustainable aspects of many processes in our work field,” explains Subhashish Mandal, Design Director, Gensler.


Design, crafts and art coming together in this festival gets people to see what is easily unseen. “The curation, location, and intent of the show is not just about creating awareness, but imperative to strike home that much of what we do is taken for granted,” he adds.


The festival also features a Basement Art Project for arts students and city art groups to paint on the walls of the mall’s basement. The panel discussion on ‘Women in Art’ is part of the ‘Salon with Shree’ series held in association with the Whitefield Literary Society, and includes Sreemoyee Piu Kundu, Seema Kohli, Sumi Gupta, and Shonali Bose.


The activity on ‘Reimagine Bengaluru’ shares visions of the future of Bengaluru. Featured speakers in the talk series are Avijit Michael (Jhatkaa.org), Susheel Nair (Artand), Tara Krishnaswamy and Srinivas Alavilli (Citizens for Bengaluru), and Akbar A (placeArts Youth Collective).


“It has been overwhelmingly satisfying to see youth and adults alike engage with art in a public space with much curiosity,” Padmaja proudly says. There was also an intimate dialogue as part of the UnGallery Talks initiative to probe how art can be a catalyst in creating a lasting culture of sustainability.


“The dialogue has sparked a possibility of collaboration with artists, organisations focusing on sustainability, and volunteering enthusiasts,” Padmaja explains. This involves use of art across the spectrum of activism, community transformation, and design for the future.


She also offers words of advice for aspiring artists. “Let your personal story and experiences influence your work and narrative. For, your work has the power to initiate a dialogue, spark a change, and challenge us with reimagined possibilities,” Padmaja signs off.


Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and do your bit for environmental sustainability?


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Got a creative photograph to share? Email us at PhotoSparks@YourStory.com!


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