Bhubaneshwar, Nov 8 IBNS | 2 years ago

Following a peaceful protest against oil drilling in the Arctic region, world renowned sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik has created a colossal sand art depicting Greenpeace's ship, the Arctic Sunrise and the 30 people who have been arrested there while protesting.

The sand art measured 15 feet wide and more than seven tonnes of sand was used in the activity.

On Sept 18, 28 activists from Greenpeace, one videographer and one photographer were arrested by the Russian authorities when they tried to climb the oil rig owned by the oil company Gazprom in the Arctic.

They are charged disproportionately with piracy and hooliganism and may face a jail term of maximum seven years even when they practiced non-violence throughout the action.

Currently, they are imprisoned at Murmansk in Russia. The Arctic 30 are about to complete two months in the prison in two weeks time.

The event to support the Arctic 30 witnessed the solidarity of the people in Odisha and also for the sand art. Members of Parliament, Mohan Jena, Rudra Madab Ray and Pinaki Mishra along with collector Naba Kumar Naik, District Magistrate U C Maji, actors Subhranshu and Sidhanta Mahapatra were also present at the event.

The event also saw a great reception from almost 19 civil society members in Odisha.

"I wanted to create an image that represents the struggles of the Arctic 30, clawed in chains but still going strong in spirit. Also it was important to recreate Greenpeace ship, the Arctic sunrise through my art because the ship is symbolic to the work that Greenpeace has been doing in the Arctic and climate change," said Sudarshan Patnaik.

"The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on the planet and is experiencing some of the most severe climate impacts on Earth. Given that the worsening impacts of climate change are felt worldwide - with India and our people being especially vulnerable to storms, droughts and floods - it is very important that India uses its position in the Arctic Council to press for full protection in the Arctic," said Rachel Pearlin, Campaigner, Greenpeace India.

Civil society members, activists and people from all around the world have been protesting continuously over the past 51 days for release of the Arctic 30. Also political leaders and governments have taken a lead in advocating their support for the cause and are trying relentlessly to free the Arctic 30.

Sudarshan Patnaik also made an appeal to the Indian politicians to come out in support of the Arctic 30 as climate change is going to affect us all equally and the jailed people were peacefully protesting on behalf every country in the world.

(Posted on 08-11-2013)