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Environmentalism India-UK: A View Through Creative Practice.

This short creative commission between India and UK creative practitioners to look at Urban Landscape, Geography and Architecture has been a joy to develop.

Indy Hunjan (www.kalaphool.com) and Professor Rajinder Dudrah (Birmingham City University) invited emerging creative practitioners from the UK and India to jointly explore their environment and that of their community through the production of creative outputs.

As a bespoke online research focused project we are delighted to be sharing the creative outputs from the creative team:

India
– Somveer Kamalnath, Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh.
– Km Neha from Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh.
– Samir Ansari from Dhanbad, Jharkand.

UK
– Becky Bell from Birmingham, West Midlands.
– Haseebah Ali from Birmingham, West Midlands.

This project partnered each of the creatives to collaborate and explore issues of their individual environments through each other’s creative practice. From this exchange they each produced a series of works, showcased here.

The global pandemic has shown us all a different way to co-create through online platforms and video calls, so to open this opportunity up and be as equitable as possible we continued working this way enabling this international exchange.

We are proud to present to you the work of the India-UK team…

NEHA KAMALNATH – Student Artist.

I am Neha from Uttar Pradesh, India.

I like painting and using my painting to communicate and express stories, feelings and emotions.I was attracted towards art after seeing my brother Somveer Kamalnath develop his own art. I enjoy how art can be used to communicate effectively with an audience whilst being beautiful and thought-evoking at the same time.

I would like to become an art teacher.

By becoming a teacher of art I hope to inspire others to take up art for themselves and for them to represent their own stories.

Mother Earth

Poster Paint.

In India we have the concept of the earth as our mother. But what are we doing to her, are we caring for her, as she has cared for us? Or are we damaging her day by day?

 

Increasing Pollution

Poster Paint.

If pollution is increasing, as many studies around the world show, what and how are we going to do to decrease it?

 

Kill

Water Colour.

Are we responsible for damaging and hurting our environment? Are we in effect harming?

 

Awareness

Water Colour.

It is never too late to raise awareness about the issues that affect our planet, our local ecosystems, our communities. Once we become aware, what are we going to do about it?

 

Save Environment

Water Colour.

Working together, as we have done on this UK-India project, is the key to overcome global issues.

To contact Neha please email her directly with your inquiries.


SOMVEER KAMALNATH – Creative Artist.

I am Somveer and I live in Saharapur, Uttar Pradesh in India.
I am a creative and I like painting in the following categories: water colours, oil, murals, and folk art.I studied at J.V.Jain College, Saharanpur.

Since childhood I was attracted towards art after seeing my Mother’s painting, especially her folk art on the walls which often depicted Indian rural and urban cultures.

I am slowly learning to realize what it means to be able to represent parts of my Indian identity, particularly drawing on my village and city life in Saharanpur. For me, my art is part of an ongoing exploration of who I am as a modern Indian.

Oxygen Deficiency

Pencil & Water Colour.

Let’s cultivate plants.

Let’s protect the future.

 

Think Tomorrow

Poster Paint.

We care for the environment because we care for our tomorrow.

 

Tears

Acrylic.

Let’s avoid our environmental destruction before it is too late. This includes water conservation.

 

Fierce Form Of Nature

Marker Pen & Poster Paint.

Should we pray to Mother Nature?

Will she be able to save us from ourselves and show us the way?

 

Message

Water Colour.

Save the tree. Save the environment. Save earth.We need to work collaboratively together across the planet to achieve this.

To contact Somveer please email directly with your inquiries.

You can also explore Somveer’s work via Instagram page and on his Youtube channel.


BECKY BELL – MA Visual Communication graduate, Illustrator and print marker.

I am a 30-year-old Illustrator and print marker living in the West Midlands, UK.

My academic journey started in Birmingham City University, where I graduated with a first-class honours degree in Illustration. In my ongoing pursuit of creativity, I have embarked on a Masters degree in Visual Communication. At present, my focus lies in orchestrating captivating and thought-provoking workshops and experimenting with printing techniques during my Artist in residency.

This experience has significantly influenced my artistic practice, providing valuable insights as I delved into a subject matter with limited prior knowledge. One of the most profound aspects of this project was the exchange and sharing of stories.

Together.

Traditional drawings created with ink on cartilage paper and foam stamps and then digitally manipulated on photoshop.

The profound concept of togetherness takes centre stage in this piece, emphasising its significance in the realm of environmentalism. It serves as a poignant reminder that we all share in the collective experience of feeling the effects together. The image is crafted using foam stamps, accompanied by pencil and ink drawings, contributing to the visual narrative with a thoughtful blend of mediums.

 

Everywhere.

Collagraphs made from recycled materials such as cardboard and then digitally manipulated on photoshop.

The creation of this piece involved repurposing recycled materials into collagraphs, aligning seamlessly with the overarching theme of the project. My aim was to convey the broad impact of these themes and topics across diverse environments. To achieve this, I crafted a generic cityscape and forest setting, symbolising the widespread influence of the subject matter.

 

Anywhere.

Monoprint made from recycled materials such as tree’s branches and then digitally manipulated on photoshop.

Building on the narrative established in the preceding two pieces, this artwork was crafted through monoprinting, utilising branches to create the marks in the ink. The intent was to further emphasis the universality of the topic across various environments. The incorporation of a graphic-style image of a home adds a distinctive touch, reinforcing the relevance of the subject matter in different contexts.

 

To contact Becky please email directly with your inquiries.

You can also explore Becky’s work via Instagram also.


SAMIR ANSARI – Student Artist.

Hi, I am Samir Ansari and I hail from Dhanbad, Jharkhand and I am currently living in Delhi.
I am a student at the Delhi University.

I take inspiration from varied sources through literature, poetry, and videos on YouTube.

I like painting, travelling and reading and am inspired by people, places and stories around me.

The Black City.

Pencil & Charcoal.

This painting is inspired by activities in and around Dhanbad where coal mining often takes place. This can lead to the production of black air which affects the lives of people around it.

 

Co2 Produce & Ozone Protest.

Pencil & Charcoal – A3.

This painting is conveying a message about how high carbon dioxide has become in the world’s atmosphere, largely thanks to some key producers. The effect of this is that increasing carbon dioxide it is weakening the ozone layer.

 

Above Water & Save Earth.

Pencil & Charcoal – A3.

There is an increase in water shortage around the world due to global warming. Often, it is the young and vulnerable groups who suffer the most as a result of this.

 

Global Warming.

Watercolour – A3.

Due to global warming, not only humans and the land but also the oceans are in danger.

To contact Samir please email directly with your inquiries.

 


HASEEBAH ALI – Artist and Arts Educator.

Haseebah Ali (b. 1996) is an artist and arts educator based in Birmingham. Her work is centred around storytelling and conveying that through a visual language. As a printmaker, mainly working with relief print and intaglio, Ali enjoys weaving themes of her own Pakistani culture within her artwork, as well as highlighting humanitarian topics that need to be spoken about more. Her artistic aim is to create artwork that not only educates her but the audience to which it is viewed.

This project has allowed me to connect with artists on an international scale who are all passionate about climate change and environmentalism. It’s allowed me to explore and listen to other people’s stories even with a language barrier and exchange critical ideas and thought about how the climate crisis can affect communities. It’s made me reflect on my own community in Birmingham and find out the extend of environmentalism in the UK, and how air pollution, carbon levels and lack of green spaces directly affect working class communities. The project has also taught me a new way to weave storytelling into my work, using more text and illustrative techniques together, and the idea that to highlight community spaces we must first look after those members of the community.

The pros of working internationally are you get different insights into how people construct their thinking and you get ideas that you would have not gotten before if it wasn’t for the exchange of thought. The cons are some parties have weaker internet access than others causing technical difficulties, however it can be quite humbling when this happens, as for myself I take fast internet for granted at times. Also, it was frustrating to not be able to talk face to face as it’s easier to read facial and body language that way and I would have loved to see the artwork up close to catch all the details.

Bottom Trawling.

Ink on Paper – Lino Print.

The linoprint describes the act of bottom trawling, a method of fishing that involves heavy weighted nets across the sea floor, in an attempt to catch fish. It’s a favored method by commercial fishing companies because it can catch large quantities of product in one go. According to a study, fishing boats that trawl the ocean floor can release as much carbon dioxide as the entire aviation industry.

 

Pocket Park.

Ink on Paper – Lino Print.

This lino print in a postage stamp style displays green spaces in the UK, and how it has been proven through science that access to green spaces can improve mental health and wellbeing.

 

Minority Air Quality.

Ink on Paper – Lino Print.

The final Lino print depicts research into how air pollution is not evenly distributed in the UK, and how its impact disproportionally affects minority ethnic and low-income communities. Those that are most likely to live near busy roads, motorways and have a comparative lack of green spaces such as parks and trees will bear the brunt of pollutants despite contributing the least to air pollution.

 

Initial Ideas.

Coloured Pencil and Fine Liner on Paper.

Initial ideas of week one into the project. What environmentalism means to me vs the dictionary definition.

 

Green Community Spaces Sketch.

Coloured Pencil and Fine Liner on Paper.

At first, I wanted to find a way to make community spaces green (physically and aesthetically) in order to make them more environmentally conscious. I was particularly looking at spaces of gathering such as popular food places in my area, places of worship and parks. I settled on a chicken shop idea and how it could be a greener and inviting lushness and foliage into grey urban settings. However as the project progressed, I soon realized you can’t add these embellishments to the community before addressing the environmental issues that the community and society is already suffering with such as air pollution and lack of green spaces.

 

Bottom Trawling Carving.

Lino Carving.

Hand carved. The postage stamp designed was inspired by vintage British and Indian postage stamps. There is a play on the words ‘Great Britain’ and colonialism as although Britain eludes itself to be the greatest, it still deals with environmental issues just like any other country.

 

Pocket Park Carving.

Lino Carving.

Hand carved. This carving took a day to carve out. The motifs on the side of the lettering link in with the flora and fauna of the imagery.

 

Minority Air Quality Carving

Lino Carving.

Hand carved. This postage stamp is inspired by ‘mini postage stamps’. You can see this in particular with the top right carving and bottom left. The color is a deep blue/ grey that is supposed to resemble the color of soot.

 

Collaboration Image.

Ink on Paper – Lino Print.

This image is a collaboration between all artists involved in the project. I was the last person to create artwork based off the other creatives for context. I was particularly inspired by Neha’s piece and the idea of growth versus destruction. I wanted to explore the imagery within a postage stamp as it relates to the idea of displacement and how people often must move around once their environment no longer is safe or suitable for them. This plays with the idea of location and how people’s needs are directly linked with environmentalism.

 

To contact Haseebah please email directly with your inquiries.

You can also explore Haseebah’s work via Instagram, Website and Twitter.

 


 

This project has been funded through the AHRC and Innovate UK.

All images and associated artworks created belong and owned to each of the Artist.

©2023.