Song of Sparrows

On sluggish humid afternoons, a host of brown-grey and stubby sparrows perching outside the school class room window quite religiously rescued us from the mind-numbing algebra class. Our parents were not amused by the consequential red lines on the report cards but what fun we had with those petite birds.  Then we grew up and flew out of our classrooms leaving them behind. But the chirping is luring us back again. Aptly titled, The Lost Sparrow, an ongoing exhibition in the Capital aims at kicking off a public art project to widen ecological awareness.

Conference of Birds and Beasts by Ranbir  Kaleka

Bringing into play the birds as a metaphor leading Indian contemporary artists will interact with children through workshops and their artworks and educate them about the starting a conservation movement.

A humming bird told me
The project boasts of 24 artists with names like Anjolie Ela Menon, Manu Parekh, Seema Kohli, Aruna Vasudev to name a few. And like all ideas it stated with a simple question. "One of my friends had a humming bird tattooed on her back. So my little curious cousin saw it one day and enquired what it was. I playfully told her it is a sparrow and she had no idea what it was. That triggered me off to start this," says project coordinator Sahiba Chauhan.

Acrylic on linen by Chris Elliot

Thus, Sahiba is going to invite students from the Vasant Valley School, DPS, Modern School and Banyan Tree among others to participate in the workshop which starts today at 11am. "Though any child is welcome and it's all free of cost," she adds. During the two hour long workshop Dilawar Mohammed of Nature Forever Society, an NGO specialising in sparrows will interact with the children. Also a live cartooning session with artist from Bangalore will also be conducted.

Childhood is a short season
The chemical pollution and radiation from mobile towers, the excess use of pesticides and the changing architecture of our dwellings are the reasons which are to leading to the decreasing population of the birds -- a concern shared on the canvas by the artists too. For example, artist Piyali Ghosh's untitled acrylic on Sanganeri handmade paper is a gloom narrative about the condition. "I got inspired by an old family photograph of my grandmother, mother and me. It seemed like a sparrow family to me stuck in a world of chimney smoke and carbon dioxide," says Piyali, "but the reason I guess is that we owe it to our children."

At: Visual Arts Gallery , India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road
Till: September 11
Timings: 11am to 7pm
Workshop: Today
Timings: 11am to 2pm
Call: 41829181

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