Here's why Mumbai-based artist Haribaabu Naatesan upcycles e-waste to create eye-catching sculptures
Do you know how much e-waste India generates annually? As per a report, the country generates around two million metric tonnes (2016), and a whopping 82 percent of it comprises personal devices. Laced with toxic chemicals and metals, most of this e-waste ends up in open areas, letting dangerous materials seep into the earth.
While policymakers and government and private agencies are trying to clean up our land, Mumbai-based Haribaabu Naatesan is contributing in his own small way. The artist is known for creating art from discarded electronic waste.
After quitting his job in animation in 2009 , Haribaabu wanted to create unique art, NDTV reports. Haribaabu uses e-waste like motherboards, floppy discs, CD drivers, cell phones, and CDs to create mesmerising sculptures.
Haribaabu Naatesan stands in front of one of his sculptures. Source Fossilss
Speaking to NDTV on the e-waste being discarded, Haribaabu says, “Ever wondered what happens to obsolete walkmans and out-of-date videotapes? To blunt saw blades and dead cell phones. To ancient floppy discs and fused light bulbs? What happens to what we generally call ‘scrap’? We let these pile up in a corner of a scrap yard, get corroded, emit harmful radiation in the process, and become hazardous.”
Haribaabu terms his art "green design works". His process involves assembling the waste material and storing it in his studio’s scrap room. Later, he categorises all parts based on size, shape, colour, and type. Once the segregation is done, he carefully assembles pieces into place to create an art form.
As per his official website, Fossilss, Haribaabu graduated in fine arts from Government College of Fine Arts, Chennai. During his post-graduation from the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, he got a platform to showcase his art made from discarded waste, which got him immense appreciation and accolades.
Last year, on Ganesh Chaturthi, Naatesan made a Ganesh idol out of 800 kg of alum, often used as a scrubber in a barber’s shop. The concept behind using alum was because of its purifying qualities; it wouldn’t pollute the water the idol was immersed in, but would purify it. The entire process of making the idol was shared on the Facebook page of Fossilss.
Haribaabu uses his art to practise and to teach environmental awareness. About his philosophy, Haribaabu said to NDTV, “The philosophy of my art is to create awareness of reusing e-waste. It is not art for just art’s sake. I take classes at my studio and conduct regular workshops for young artists to help them learn the techniques of creating eco-friendly art by using things that are discarded and might otherwise end up in landfills. The idea is to recycle, to prevent industrial waste from polluting our planet.”