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Scrap & Waste Find Glory at Bhubaneshwar’s Outdoor Art Museum

Posted by
on January 28, 2019 at 06:56 AM

© Courtesy of internet resources

While maximising efforts to recycle waste, or garbage, as a global effort is a fairly recent phenomenon arising from the environmental crisis, putting waste to use as decorative material has well been practiced since ages. Grannies have taught us to make dolls, wall pieces and other items of home décor using scraps of household waste. Many wonderful ventures have been taken up globally in recent times to create relevant public spaces using waste as decorating or building material, as showcased in the previous article on the Spanish venture, Basurama. Many Indian public spaces and gardens too have been adorned by art made from waste, beginning with the brilliant yet furtive effort by sculptor Nek Chand at his sprawling Rock Garden in Chandigarh which, when discovered, led to him being conferred the Padma Shri! Today, we see another epic effort made in the same vein at Bhubaneshwar where a magnificent outdoor museum of awe-inspiring art created by a galaxy of international artists has been opened to the public this month.

The dynamic image of an imposing form of the Odisha elephant in majestic motion, all made up of colourful metallic rods that almost seem to set it on fire, is indeed awe-inspiring even in pictures accompanying various reports about the museum on the internet! Belgium’s Didier Leemas, the sculptor of this imposing elephant, has also created an equally delightful wolf to be viewed and enjoyed by visitors to this sculpture park in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha.

© Courtesy of internet resources

The Bhubaneshwar Open Air Museum of Waste-to-Art, as it has come to be named, was inaugurated by the Odisha Chief Minister, Mr. Naveen Patnaik, on November 20th, thus gifting the city a usable public space decorated by wonderful installations made from waste. Located in an assigned area of 5 acres near K7 of Kalinga Vihar and presented as an International Public Art Symposium (IPAS), the museum is the result of a collaborated effort between Artists Network Promoting Indian Culture (ANPIC), the Bhubaneshwar Development Authority (BDA) and the Bhubaneshwar Municipal Corporation (BMC).

© Courtesy of internet resources

Scrap and waste, mostly constituting metal and plastic discards, to the tune of 50 tons was collected from different areas of Cuttack and Bhubaneshwar for this current set of installations. Around 22 artists from 16 countries around the world were invited to contribute and they started their work on 1st November. They have created and curated 24 impactful sculptural works which are on display currently at the newly opened museum which will be eventually landscaped with greenery and pathways to add value as a public park and also be provided with adequate parking facility. The museum itself is planned to be a work in progress always with newer sculptural creations to be created from scrap and added to the amazing collection.

© Courtesy of internet resources

Among the spectacular collection, which mainly picturise animals, birds, wildlife and life’s philosophies, is a serene face of Buddha created by Spanish artist Daniel Rerez Scarez who claims to be inspired by his discovery about ancient Kalinga being the birthplace of Buddhist thought. Johannesburg artist Sandile Radebe’s work with wonderful combinations between triangles and pyramids seeks to communicate the infinite possibilities one has with ways of either re-using or wasting disposed materials.

© Courtesy of internet resources

British artist Noah Rose has created a ‘Goborapoka’, a dung beetle found in Odisha, out of autorickshaw parts to show how both the beetle and the autorickshaw represent hardworking grass-root level service providers. Argentinian artist Augusto Daniel Gallo’s representation of one of the lions on the Ashoka pillar in India’s national emblem made from metals has already garnered a lot of adulation and so has New Zealand’s Donald Buglass’ Flying Eagle created from scrap iron. German artist Neil Hansen infuses an aura of motion in his depiction of a crouching tiger.

© Courtesy of internet resources
© Courtesy of internet resources

There are also scientific curiosity invoking kinetic sculptures created by Ireland’s Paddy Bloomer and Italy’s Matteo Baroni. The royal Bengal tigress, Sundari, is depicted in Netherlads’ Anita Maria Wilhelmina de Harde’s sculpture while Baroda’s Jeetendra Kumar Ojha’s creation celebrates women’s empowerment. Some installations draw attention to endangered species like Odisha’s Olive Ridley Turtles, Indian Rhino, Blackbuck, Nilgiri Tahr, Snow leopard and lion tailed Macaque.

© Courtesy of internet resources

The congratulatory note in the Odisha chief minister’s inaugural address, praising the effort in Toto as well as the artistic splendour of each and every sculpture,  augurs favourably for the citizens as well as the artistic community. Political encouragement and government backing are crucial to the development of cities and their service systems as also for the future of artists. This project could well play a catalyst for many initiatives including systematic segregation of the city’s garbage, socio-cultural awareness of citizens towards their responsibilities and possible avenues of their contribution to city administration, a trend towards conscious provision of amenities like public spaces and an enhanced importance of art in everyday life. Of course, not to forget the all-important messaging on ecology, environment, species preservation, sustainability and reduction and reuse of material resources that can never be repeated too often!

© Courtesy of internet resources

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