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Environmental Consciousness in Current Inaian Art
Lina vincent sunish

In recent years there has been a surge of activity, both global and national, acknowledging environmental engagement with the arts. While artists have always been drawn to the representation and sometimes sentimental depiction of nature and human conflict with the earth, a stream of connected factors have currently contributed to a kind of consciousness that results not necessarily in ‘objects of art’ but more as attempts toward social and behavioral change through the agency of art. Artists feel the need to participate in ecological healing and use various tools to communicate collective concerns. Terms like ‘Artivism’ have entered into common discussion, describing the unique combination of art and social or environmental activism.

Early 2017 saw a gathering of like-minded people at Dakshinachitra,Chennai, which is a premium (and very popular) cultural institution in Tamil Nadu, South India. Developed under the aegis of founding director Deborah Thiagarajan; curated and organized jointly by American artist, professor and scholar Kathryn Myers, and Goa based curator and critic Neeta Omprakash, the Seminar was titled Environmental Consciousness in Current Indian Art -explorations in art, architecture, heritage, and community engagement.

Kathryn Myers shared her vision, “I became interested in exploring the topic of environmental consciousness in contemporary Indian art after becoming aware of a surge of interest among artists when I started my “Regarding India” interview series in 2011.

This might have been accelerated by the 2010 Commonwealth games which involved a great deal of illegal development and ecological damage. Because New Delhi and Mumbai is where most artistic activity is concentrated, issues tended often to reflect the problems of those cities and outlying areas, but environmental concerns I found were equally reflected in other parts of India. The range of artistic responses particularly interested me, from activism through a sense of helplessness, loss, lament and at times, humor.

“The idea of the “environment” in our seminar included intertwined topics of the natural and built environment. The latter, which included topics of heritage and tourism,

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