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Nature (representative image). Pixabay

New Delhi, May 28, 2017: In a world dominated by urban sprawl with high-rises and rampant deforestation, birds and animals are suffering a loss of habitat which, in turn, adds up to a loss of inheritance. An exhibition here compels us to think about the present day human habits.

From the rhinos at Kaziranga to the magnificent deer with antlers that could very well re-imagine a map of boned abundance to a peacock sitting and watching bricks being tossed up, artist Ashish Kushwaha is an environmentalist at heart.


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His tribute to nature, “Inheritance of Loss” is on view at India International Centre till May 29 here.

The artist creates works that have an ecological echo.

While the works give us an urban overview of a landscape these are not pretty in the least.

They reflect the cruelty of large scale rampant deforestation and the race to develop grasslands into skyscrapers that banish wildlife species.

“Over the past five years, he has continually exposed the workings of urban development,” according to noted art curator Uma Nair.

Nair feels that the works look like as we are looking at urban metaphors.

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“These works on canvasses, as well as a few small watercolours, look at the loss of habitat for animals and birds in the face of vanishing forests and large scale development without a thought for species who are facing the reality of no place to exist,” she said.

For the artist, his paintings are silent conversations.

“I am always thinking of prakriti — of the earth as a planet in which there is harmony between animals and man. But what I see is very different and very difficult for me,” Kushwaha said.

“I believe that art must communicate. It must tell a story and it must have a message. Animals and birds and man – we’re two halves of a whole,” he added.

“Sometimes I feel at the rate at which we are moving we certainly won’t last forever,” he maintained.

As an artist, Kushwaha is making a commentary on the many high rises and in telling a story of shrinking space between animals and man.

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“Tomorrow this story will make history because we will be looking at the endangering and extinction of animals and birds because of our selfish habits,” he said.

“If my canvasses and watercolours tell the story, our story, a human story, then in a hundred years, they can be considered an art reference, when, like the sparrows, we will hardly see these beautiful birds and animals,” he added.

The exhibition questions contemporary realities and leaves viewers deeply disturbed because it is the beauty and magnificent monumentality of a rhinocerous from Kaziranga, a graceful deer and a rapturous peacock that will stir us out of our stupor. (IANS)

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