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Artists and Lawyers joined hands to raise awareness on Environment related issues

“Environment, even in the eyes of law is often considered only a commodity, and we believe art has the power to change this. Can this power hold in a legal courtroom, this is what this staged trial will seek to question.”

New Delhi, April 4, 2017: In one of the unique crossovers between environment, law, and art, some known artists and lawyers will attempt to raise awareness through a mock court trial on green issues.

The project has been directed by artist Zuleikha Chaudhari in collaboration with Khoj International Artists’ Association.

Titled “Landscape as Evidence: Artist as Witness,” the event will be conducted as a mock trial or a “Staged Hearing Before the Commission of Inquiry under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952” in which participants are a retired judge, practicing lawyers and artists.

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“Environment, even in the eyes of law is often considered only a commodity, and we believe art has the power to change this. Can this power hold in a legal courtroom, this is what this staged trial will seek to question,” Zuleikha Chaudhari said.

The event, directed by Chaudhari, staged as part performance and part real legal proceedings, will have a judge, practicing lawyers like Anand Grover and environmental lawyer Norma Alvares will be opposing counsels, artists like Navjot Altaf, Ravi Agarwal, and Sheba Chhachhi will be the witnesses and artworks will be the evidence. The artworks (or the evidence in this case) that will also be displayed are video works by Navjot Altaf, Ravi Aggarwal, and Sheba Chhachhi.

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“Khoj has been working around the themes of ecology and environment since 2002,” says Radha Mahendru, curator at Khoj International Artists’ Association, “and since this is our 20th year, we wanted to revisit issues of ecology through this unique collaboration between artists and lawyers”.

The hearing before this “Commission of Inquiry” is requesting that it consider the recently cleared River Linking Project under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952. The matter has been referred to it by a direction of the Lok Sabha pursuant to a petition. The petitioners, Khoj International Artists’ Association and Zuleikha Chaudhari oppose the River Linking Project on the basis of the devastation caused to the environment.

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The staged hearing before the Commission will look into the merits of an enlightened perception of justice and how to measure loss, premising art as valid evidence and artists as valid witnesses.

The project, set to be held at Speakers Hall in the Constitution Club of India on April 7 here, is in collaboration with Vienna’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary. IANS

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