Students showcased their artworks on socio economic and environmental issues at an inter-college competition.

The Government college of Fine Arts, Egmore, won the “Reciprocity Wave” — a competition on holistic sustainability. Students were asked to showcase their work, in the form of artworks, on the socio-economic and environmental issues affecting the planet.

The winning installation portrays what a cow feeds on in a rural area on the one hand, and what it feeds on in a modern day city in the midst of skyscrapers, on the other. A futuristic image of the cow is shown, where the only thing that’s left of it is its skeleton as it has no option but to eat plastic poly bags due to the absence of green cover in a place full of concrete. “This conveys the end of traditional way of life,” says NG Ramachandran, student, Government of Fine Arts.

Shiela Sriprakash, one of the adjudicators, said, “The idea was to give students the creative opportunity to identify the one pressing issue they feel strongly about and channelise them on the given platform.” She hopes that students will have an increased awareness and work on these ideas in the future.

Organised by Shilpa Architects, the event saw the participation of 39 teams comprising a total of 180 students from colleges in India and Europe.

Over 20 installations were on display at the Nageshwara Rao Park, Mylapore on February 2.

The park, which is frequented by regular joggers, ensured a steady audience, besides providing an excellent platform for the students to have the space and freedom to set up their installations. The themes depicted varied from women’s rights to the environmental issues as waste reduction, recycling and Green Revolution.

The competition was adjudged by film-maker Latha Menon, journalist Geetha Doctor, Dr. R. Kumar, Navin Housing & Properties (P) Ltd., and Sheila Sriprakash, founder, Shilpa Architects and award-winning global expert at the World Economic Forum’s Council on Design Innovation & the Role of Arts in Society.

The MEASI College of Architecture won the second prize. Srinidhi Srinivasan, first-year student B Architecture, Miasi Academy of Architecture, deployed the origami method of paper folding by putting together 1,377 pieces of paper in the form of a swan. “We did not use glue to hold it together,” said Srinidhi. The swan here is a symbol of Mother Nature. Even if a single piece of paper was withdrawn, the entire edifice will collapse; driving home the message that harm caused to a single element of the environment can disturb balance in the entire ecosystem. The School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, based their sculpture on the equality of women. The scene of a woman, bound by chains, portrayed the constraints set by a male-dominated society. The woman belonged to a very restricted society as she stood facing a tree, set amidst a green terrain that represented another society that was free and where she aspired to be. It was a society where the woman would have freedom of speech, equal access to employment and education.

Rachel Hosefelder, third-year student, B (Architecture), Leibniz University, had a beam balance suspended from the branch of a tree. One of the scales contained rice, while the other contained a host of food items from rice to junk food to depict the inequality of access to food across different sections of society.