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Children view art, learn of climate change

Posted on Feb 02, 06:39PM | IANS

New Delhi, Feb 2 : It was a feast for the eyes as well as a lesson in climate change for children who viewed this exhibition at the Chinmaya Mission in the national capital.

Eighteen artists from Zanzibar and Tanzania in East Africa have put together a collection 44 ethnic art works around the theme "The Animals' Climate Panel". Norwegian archivist Torill Grung has curated the exhibition, which is supported by the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI).

"I wanted to simplify the theories of climate change for children with a dialogue between animals around the world. They express concern over the destruction of their natural habitats and meet to resolve to make the world better," Grung told IANS.

"They send the sick planet earth to the hospital, where the doctor prescribes clean water and air."

The concerns are multiple - forest dwellers worry about the shrinking green cover and the marine inhabitants feel the pinch of pollution and sediment heaps as the earth eats into the water.

The penguins, perched on a lone ice ledge, find the waters warm to their alarm.

"The stylisation is ethnic. The artists have used the traditional iconography of the east African indigenous art in acrylic and water colours. The figures are childlike, combining an element of animation drawing for the texts," the curator said.

Grung said she wrote the script in comic-book style.

"These artists, most of whom live in the villages and cities of Tanzania and Zanzibar paint for a living. They are not exactly poor, they make a living out of art. Some of them have never seen the poles and snow," the curator explained.

"They were given pictures of the polar regions and drew the rest from their imagination," she says.

The project, born out of the Delhi Sustainability Development Summit, is supported by the Royal Norwegean Embassy. It de-constructs the jargon about climate change, looking at it through the eyes of animals.

East Africa is known for its Tinga Tinga paintings. The tradition is named after artist Edward Tingatinga, born in South Tanzania. In the 1960s, he began to paint colourful and stylised natural motifs with metal enamel pigments, using dots as his primary decorative icon.

The style was copied by generations of artists and spread outside Tanzania.

Most of the art works in the show used the Tinga Tinga technique.

The exhibition is a travelling showcase, Grung said.

"It might travel to nine Indian cities. We are in talks with our sponsors and will tour Norway later this year."

More than 2,000 school children from the capital visited the exhibition in the last three days. The Delhi show closes Saturday.