A green canvas

Updated: May 22, 2019, 07:40 IST | Snigdha Hasan

Through his solo exhibition of artworks created out of reclaimed material from nature, veteran photographer Prashant Godbole draws attention to the impact of human action on the environment

A green canvas
RIP Mother Nature, Dodo and (H )Owl

When Metro construction work began in full swing in front of Prashant Godbole's Prabhadevi home, the sight of decades-old trees being massacred stirred something within him. "I understand that we need progress, but is there no other way out? After 30 years in advertising, I decided it was high time I created art for a cause," says the veteran photographer. The result is Samsara, a solo exhibition of 21 artworks, conceptualised and created out of reclaimed material from nature.

"We are losing forest cover at the rate 1.5 acres per second. In another 100 years, there won't be any rainforests left. These are staggering facts. So, each piece of art has been created to spark a thought, and hopefully, start a conversation on the need to check unthinking acts of violence against the earth," adds Godbole, who has photographed wildlife extensively.

A green canvas

The search for the raw material for the artworks — a series of black and white works on paper, and frames made of recycled wood and metal — took Godbole to scrap dealers, from whom he procured di­scarded pl­­­ywood, me­­tal and old pieces of furniture. The background in the wooden frames is the plywood painted with white distemper. "I picked up twigs, fallen branches and driftwood from my walks on Mahim beach," he shares, referring to a frame featuring a crow fashioned out of driftwood, while another one is a painting within a painting, where a fallen leaf is mounted on an easel. "It is a painting of death," he says.

The frames themselves have been upcycled from mango cartons, and depict simple concepts created to drive home a message. A work titled Karma, for instance, is in the shape of a boomerang, while another one featuring an axe is called Hara-kiri, pointing to the immediate and direct impact of human action on nature, which in turn jeopardises human existence itself. (H)Owl, on the other hand, is more perceptive in nature.

A green canvas

"The owlets within the owl tell you that killing one creature or destroying their habitat can eliminate generations," he elaborates. A discarded piece of saw has been used for the beak of the flightless and extinct bird dodo, which was endemic to the island of Mauritius. The proceeds from the show will go towards NGOs that work for the cause of the environment, including Grow-Trees, which facilitates planting of trees on behalf of individuals and companies. "If there is any way we can bring greenery back in our life, we need to act on it. Now," Godbole concludes.

Prashant Godbole
Prashant Godbole

Till May 26, 11 am to 7 pm
at Jehangir Art Gallery, Exhibition hall no 4, Kala Ghoda, Fort.
Call 22843989

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