A jute installation to be
displayed at the Art Mart III in Gurgaon
New Delhi: Piling
heaps of waste and concern for a clean environment have given
birth to a strange synergy between natural landscape, ecology,
waste and art. Young Indian artists are stretching their creative
frontiers to prove art can transcend frilly aesthetic and promote
Naresh Sinha, a contemporary multimedia artist, recalls mounds of
garbage eating the river Ganga in Patna when he was an art
"Later in Delhi, I saw the Yamuna dying the same way. The image
stayed with me because the future wars in this country and world
will be fought over water," the artist told IANS.
This September, he shot a seven-minute performance art capsule,
"Which Destination", featuring him performing a token funeral rite
for the death of the trinity of rivers - Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati.
The clip is accompanied by recorded sounds of water flowing in
The movie, along with a sculpture from plastic discards, are
exhibits in an exposition, "Movement, Medium and Metaphor" curated
by Georgina Maddox at the Gallery Niv.
"The burden of waste in the environment is forcing artists to
think of used objects as a medium because younger artists have
ideas but little money," Naresh Sinha said.
Narayan Sinha, a young artist based in Nalhati on the outskirts of
Kolkata, juxtaposes traditional objects such as old brass
prayerware like the "pooja thal" (ceremonial plate), sacred water
snouts, antique lamps and ancient jewellery with toxic garbage
like metal scraps, automobile parts, water jugs and rusty locks,
to craft 10-armed images of Durga.
"It is my way of connecting the deity to her roots and the ocean
of objects that swarm around her. I also want to preserve heritage
knickknacks like the traditional Bengali prayer cutlery and old
jewellery which are disappearing," Narayan Sinha told IANS.
"My home is near a bus stop - and the automobile waste that I grew
up with present themselves as new forms to me," Sinha said.
Fifteen of his Durga installations are on display at the
Harrington Street Gallery in Kolkata in a showcase, "Devi",
curated by Ina Puri.
"It is a tribute to the mother goddess with used objects," curator
Puri told IANS.
Artist Pratap Morey, a native of Mumbai, works with used objects
like plastic drinking cups to connect to nature and the monumental
"plasticisation of the country".
"In 2009, I made a 10 feet by 10 feet installation for the Bandra
Festival with thousands of discarded plastic cups collected from
garbage vats at weddings and from airports to convey the threat
posed by the careless disposal of plastic drinking cups," Morey
"Artists are a part of society and their works reflect what is
going on around them," Sushma Bahl, curator of the Art Mart III,
an annual fair in the national capital region, told IANS.
The fair, "Art from Waste" Sep 23-26, will host 100 artists and
more than 1,000 art works on environment made from waste at the
Epicentre in Gurgaon.
Analysing the forces that drive artists to use waste as mediums of
art, the curator said, "The consumerist ethos, in the digital and
technological age where everyone wants to own the latest model,
one finds massive amounts of waste littered around. It poses a
challenge to our space for survival," Bahl said.
"So it seems natural for artists to make creative use of discarded
material to make aesthetically pleasing and in some cases useful
works of art," she said.
"There is a need for both - art for art's sake and art for society
or with meaning or utility," art curator and critic Vidyun Singh,
the brain behind the Art from Waste, told IANS.
"We decided to focus on waste to rethink, recreate and remake as
our central theme because this is the international year of the
forest," said Singh, who is the programme director of Habitat