Conversations For Conservation

The Artists for Wildlife and Nature’s Annual Show aims to provide a platform for artists and promote awareness around wildlife conservation.


Artwork from the 'SOS save our soul' series

Busi Prafula Grace

Bangalore: The Artists for Wildlife and Nature (AWN), which hosted its fourth annual show from January 17 to January 21, showcased traditional paintings, sculptures, and 3-D models. Nine promising artists, including a school student, were awarded for their contribution to the showcase. In 2019, the art show saw 140 paintings submitted by 48 artists.

Held at the Venkatppa Art Gallery, the exhibition showcased the works of wildlife artists of all ages across India.

Formed in 2017, the AWN aims to “promote wildlife and nature art.” The organisation provides a platform for artists of varying media and skill level, such as painters, sculptors, and sculptors.

Keeping with its goal to promote art and raise awareness about wildlife, the AWN also organises art camps and workshops such as ‘Bangalore for Bannerghatta’ and several sketching workshops for both children and adults.

All the artists, whose work is showcased, hold the cause of wildlife conservation very dear to their hearts: the description cards for nearly every piece on display inform the viewers about the animal in the scene, while also talking about its habitat, extinction status, etc.

In artist Smitha Kashi’s ‘S.O.S. save our soul’ series, birds are depicted in dystopian situations created by humankind’s abuse of nature. “This work is my response to disturbing statistics and the visuals we keep seeing of the ill-effects of plastic pollution. The plastic trash that is flowing into our oceans is killing seabirds around the world,” the description card next to her award-winning piece reads.

A painting displayed at the show

While some artists take their inspiration through photographs, others use their own experiences to create their art. The description cards next to the works by Mr Prasad Natarajan, the founder of AWN, narrate his experiences with wildlife on various safari expeditions through the years. Mr Natarajan has been working with wildlife art since 2005 and is a self-professed nature lover. Talking about a particular piece on display he said: “it takes me 48 hours, if not more on a single piece. For [the piece in question], I used 16 layers of paint. It took the longest among all my displayed work here.”

The exhibit witnessed a diverse crowd of visitors from nature-lovers to art connoisseurs, art students and families. “I enjoyed looking at the paintings, and I especially liked the model of a dung beetle made with stamps,” a nine-year-old visitor said.

“As a nature lover, I visit this art show as often as I can. It is nice to see the attention these artists give to their work, as well as around the conversation to conserve wildlife. I think this exhibition is vital in raising awareness, especially among young people,” said Ms Rajini, a regular visitor.

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