India, a country known for its rich tradition, culture and heritage is also well known for its breath-takingly beautiful and picturesque landscapes. With varied climate zones and blend of land and water formations, the environment, nature and climate in different regions has influenced the lifestyle, living, habits, occupation and even beliefs of Indians. India is also know for a huge extravaganza of varied native artforms that vary from region to region. Nature thus seems to influence the regional artforms across different cultures in India.
PLANTS AND TREES ARE REGARDED AS SACRED
It is believed that the life in us pervades all living beings, be it plants or animals. Hence, they are all regarded as sacred. Human life on earth depends on plants and trees. They give us the vital factors that makes life possible on Earth: food, oxygen clothing, shelter, medicines, etc. They lend beauty to our surroundings. They serve other living creatures without expectation and sacrifice themselves to sustain us. They epitomise sacrifice. If a stone is thrown at a fruit-laden tree, the tree in return gives fruit!
In fact, the flora and fauna owned the earth before man appeared on it. Presently the world is seriously threatened by the destruction of forestlands and the extinction of many species of vegetation due to the callous attitude of human beings towards them. We tend to protect only what we value. Hence traditionally, in India, our ancestors would regard trees and plants as sacred, naturally, protecting them. Certain trees and plants like Tulasi, Peepal, etc., which have tremendous beneficial qualities, are worshipped even today.
NATURE AS INSPIRATION FOR ART:
From Ancient times, Indians have worshipped trees and plants and regarded all flora and fauna as sacred. While modern man works to conquer Mother Nature, Ancient Indians worshipped Her. The sensitivity, foresight and refinement of Indian culture led to the practice of worshipping objects of nature and led to taking these as subjects of inspiration for the canvas. One would notice most Indian Artforms taking direct inspiration from objects of nature such as the sun, moon, stars, mountains and trees.
ECO-FRIENDLY INDIAN ART:
Indian artforms date back to centuries when canvases and artificial pigments weren’t available. Paintings were generally done on the walls of structures such as temples (These are known as Frescoes), walls of huts during festivities or ceremonies.
People also paint on terracotta, ceramic and earthenware, fabric, and even leaves. The pigments used for painting in most traditional paintings are natural pigments which are extracted from parts of plants trees, vegetables etc.
A few variety of murals were done on the thatched wall of huts. In such cases the base canvas for painting was made by layers of mud or cow dung. The Rangoli or mandalas were generally done on the floor.
Art has always bean a means of expression. As humans we have always been inquisitive to seek and learn. Art also has been a way to appreciate Nature since ages.
In the present scenario, Artists are working not only on reviving the traditional technique of art, but also finding ways to upcycle and find eco-friendly techniques of sustainable art. Artist have also used Art as a medium to voice opinions, lead campaigns and create awareness regarding subjects such as Preservation, Nurturing Nature, Waste Management, Water Usage, etc.
You can have a look at a couple of upcycling projects that is up on my blog 🙂