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Exploring a planet ‘swimming in discarded plastic’

Focusing on the responsibility of mankind to protect and restore the environment, a stellar group exhibition titled ‘Plastic Shapes Our Lives’, opened on Friday at Bikaner House, New Delhi. Featuring the works of Indian and Greek artists — Eleni Stoelinga-Tsiapara (Greece), Pankaj Guru (India) and Priyanka Gupta (India) — the show is curated by Georgina Maddox and is on view until 17 April –_2023. […]

Focusing on the responsibility of mankind to protect and restore the environment, a stellar group exhibition titled ‘Plastic Shapes Our Lives’, opened on Friday at Bikaner House, New Delhi. Featuring the works of Indian and Greek artists — Eleni Stoelinga-Tsiapara (Greece), Pankaj Guru (India) and Priyanka Gupta (India) — the show is curated by Georgina Maddox and is on view until 17 April –_2023.
The trio’s plastic sculptures that have been reclaimed and treated with various processes are an expression of their styles, which point to our responsibility to care for the environment. The show comes as a continuation of the investigation of the subject by the three artists in their exposition in October 2022 at the Museum of Archeology of Olympia, Greece — where the first Olympic Games were held (in 776 BC).
“What brings these artists together, beyond their friendship, their mutual respect for each other’s art and ideas, is their shared experience of a planet in crisis, literally ‘swimming in discarded plastic’, which is harming not just the environment but animal and human health as well. Their focus is on the responsibility of mankind to protect and restore the environment,” says the curator.
Eleni Stoelinga-Tsiapara has also experimented with her “Pipes shaped into Humans” with the objective to highlight the air pollution from exhaust pipes and industrial chimneys. Now, she is inspired by the gracious gestures of its people, she shapes with her hands, harmonious figures, which express persons or leaves of the Buda tree.
Pankaj Guru works in three-dimensional art for the development of knowledge, imagination, and perception of nature, of life in its various forms. In his works, human faces merge with abstract bodies and the glimmering of geometric shapes that capture the viewer’s attention with their charm.
At the same time, Priyanka Gupta’s work is an expression of different forms and the thoughts that lie behind it. For this exhibition, Priyanka has produced work that presents itself as tall spiraling work that appears as thin columnar structures done in plastic. In fact, thin, long sculptures of a considerable height seem to be a recurring motif in her works. It perhaps reaches into spaces and explores topography in a manner that goes beyond human limitations.
By highlighting the beauty and potential of recycled plastic, one artist encourages us to rethink the value of this material while also raising awareness of its impact on the environment. Another artist explores the dichotomy of plastic, creating thought-provoking abstract paintings that challenge us to reflect on our own consumption habits and the need for more sustainable alternatives. The third artist uses plastic objects in our daily lives to create large-scale installations, emphasizing the ubiquitous presence of plastic and encouraging us to find a balance between its convenience and environmental impact.
The artist trio has worked with plastic materials. The sculptural works are transformative and are coloured in metallic shades, abstract and beautiful in many ways.
Through their works, the artists remind us that plastic has become an essential part of our modern way of life, but they also acknowledge the urgent need to use it more responsibly.
“While it may be impossible to eliminate plastic from our lives completely, we can strive to find ways to use it in a more balanced and sustainable way. By reflecting on our relationship with plastic and exploring creative solutions, we can take meaningful steps toward reducing its impact on the environment,” say the artists, jointly.
Notably, according to UNDP, India generates 15 million tonnes of plastic waste every year but only one fourth of this is recycled due to the lack of a functioning solid waste management system.

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