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Art for a cause: Artists are exploring the intersection of art and climate change through installations, sculptures, art books

Taking an interactive approach to the notions of climate change, artist duo Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra, popularly known as Thukral & Tagra, have brought a new initiative called ‘and Archive’, which includes a collection of books and gameplay to disseminate value-based knowledge across different generations

Thukral & Tagra
Thukral & Tagra's art game lets players save resources and balance global temperatures with the cards they choose to play.

Environmental appreciation, protection, and awareness are not restricted to seminars, activism or leadership lessons alone. They have now entered the world of art with strong sensibilities depicted in installations, sculptures, interactive games, and art books. That’s because art can powerfully evoke the sentiments of nature through ways one cannot even fathom.

A close watch at the recent reports of IPCC, UNEP, cop26, and UN action plans suggests climate change is the need of the hour. There are tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHG) added to the atmosphere each year. Taking an interactive approach to the notions of climate change, artist duo Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra, popularly known as Thukral & Tagra, have brought a new initiative called ‘and Archive’, which includes a collection of books and gameplay to disseminate value-based knowledge across different generations. One of them is an art game ‘2030 Net Zero, 2022’, which lets the players save their resources and balance the global temperature with the cards they choose to play.

“It is an ecology of ideas originating from the artist-book-objects to make participants rethink sustainability. We developed this collection of consciously created books and game editions into the sub-themes of climate change as these issues grapple us at a national level,” say the duo, whose project is on display at the ongoing India Art Fair in New Delhi.

The project is disruptive and playful, as well as a tool of art pedagogy and social awareness that enlarges the scope of the art practice and deepens its relevance to the current systems of public engagement. “It develops intervention, public engagement, and questions what art can do. This game format is developed to disseminate knowledge, engage as well as participate on issues like climate change,” says Thukral.

Plastic waste is one of the fastest-growing environmental causes often less known or worse, disregarded. Russian-born artist Natalia Kapchuk in her series of work titled The Lost Planet highlights the importance of preserving precious ‘kingdoms of polar ice’ from the ecological damage and the immeasurable amounts of plastic waste that is littering the world’s ocean. She essentially uses a combination of different media—resi-crete, resin, acrylics on canvas—to depict the richness of oceans accentuated by the reflections created by using precious metals.

At India Art Fair, Kapchuk is showcasing her artwork in a conscious collaboration with DIACOLOR, which has the rarest of natural no-heat gemstones crafted into magnificent pieces of jewellery.

Similarly, Gujarat and Delhi-based artist P R Daroz’s porcelain clay installations are an exploration of volcanic eruptions, fossilised forms like biosphere of rocks, plant and animal life that are central to his rough, bruised and glazed textures. These remind Daroz of seascapes and coastal areas which have been affected by environmental disasters. He calls the rocks silent energy.

“Extreme weather conditions can cut rocks, stones and it takes ages to restore them. This needs to be preserved. We are also losing civilisation slowly and a time will come when great monuments, cities and roads will vanish or decline due to climate change,” adds Daroz.

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