Once found in abundance around human habitats, the good old house sparrows are vanishing at an alarming rate. To save this humble bird from getting wiped out, Gallery Threshold is hosting a five-day public art project at Visual Arts Gallery in India Habitat Centre here beginning this Wednesday.

Tunty Chauhan, whose decade-long journey with Gallery Threshold has helped her understand contemporary Indian art and its impact on bringing social transformation, says the exhibition will feature paintings of seasoned and contemporary artists including Anjolie Ela Menon, Manu Parekh, Jayashree Chakravorty, Sebastian Varghese and Chameli Ramachandran.

“Waking up to the chirping of sparrows is a part of everyone's childhood memory. However, it has become increasingly difficult to spot sparrows these days,” she says.

Unlike the way a gallery normally functions, Gallery Threshold has come out with this out-of-the box initiative to get the word out on the street via children. “We are also conducting an awareness workshop with seven schools to create a ripple effect to sensitise the public to the cause of the ‘lost sparrow'. Our goal is to help create awareness and start a conservation movement to save our birds which are a vital part of our eco-system.”

Titled “The Lost Sparrow”, the workshop seeks to bridge the growing disconnect between humans and nature. It will give the participating students a chance to interact with some artists and exhibit their works alongside.

Bombay Natural History Society will provide content for the talk and slide show. Dilawar Mohammed of Nature Forever Society, a non-government organisation specialising in sparrows, will deliver a talk.

The schools participating in the workshop are Vasant Valley, Pathways (Gurgaon), The Mother's International School, Modern School (Barakhamba Road), Mirambika, The Sri Ram School and Delhi Public School. The idea is to give children an opportunity to take on the role of spreading the word.

A carpentry and pottery project to create and distribute bird houses is also on the cards.

Tunty Chauhan's daughter Sahiba, who has conceptualised the public art event, says she came up with the idea to initiate a public art project two months ago. “There is a whole generation of urban children growing up without seeing a sparrow. I wonder how many of us have realised the implications of this. I discussed the idea with my mother and we have now succeeded in roping in selected art and eco-club students from Class VI to IX.”

The project will highlight the fact that the downward spiral of sparrow population is due to radiation from mobile towers, overuse of pesticides and lack of nesting and breeding sites.


You can ‘House the sparrow' this year March 5, 2012