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Being the change

NANDHINI SUNDAR
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Event The Reciprocity Wave, where students from art and design institutions showcase their creativity using waste and recycled materials, will be held today at Cubbon Park

Making a differenceSheila Sri Prakash
Making a differenceSheila Sri Prakash

You turn the television on, open the newspaper, listen to the radio; what greets you is an endless stream of news reporting on social strife, political upheavals, injustice and horrific crimes. You are seized with an overwhelming urge to do something.But alas, you do not know where to begin.

Architect Sheila Sri Prakash was seized by a similar urge, and decided to make a difference using the skills she had learnt and practiced over the last three and a half decades. She decided to use design to create awareness, wake up the public, to think, become proactive so as to collectively make a difference.

As a first step she decided to channelize young minds and their creativity, invoke social awareness and spread this through the medium of art, design and sculpture that they were schooling in. What started as an incredible urge to be proactive transformed into something tangible, in the form of an overwhelming response from art and design schools and students.

The response then took the form of an exhibit in a public park in Chennai where close to 40 student teams, totalling over 180 students from a dozen art and architectural colleges in the city showcased their artwork and sculptures that were made from scrap and rapidly renewable materials. The themes addressed were social, economic, health and environmental issues and the best teams took away cash prizes.

Says Sheila, who is also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Council on Design Innovation & the Role of Arts in Society, “the ‘Reciprocity Wave’ is an event conducted to enthuse empathy and a sense of community among our people and perhaps the best way to start is to involve students in this venture. Events such as these motivate society to embrace sustainable behaviour and address social issues, whereby the public opinion created can drive government policies and laws in the positive direction.”

Her firm, Shilpa Architects, with Friends Learn USA will conduct a similar Reciprocity Wave in the Band Stand in Cubbon Park today where students from leading art and design institutions in the city will participate to showcase their creativity using waste and recycled materials. “The overwhelming response received from the Chennai event prompted us to take this to other cities too. Bangalore is the first step in that direction,” says Sheila.

The artwork and sculptures will be created on the spot by the students on issues such as rape, child labour, female foeticide, women’s health, poverty, environment amongst others. More than 300 students from leading art and design institutes such as Chitra Kala Parishad, RV College of Engineering, Srishti School of Art Design and Technology, BMS School of Architecture are slated to participate. The event sponsored by Habitat Ventures will be judged by renowned artist and sculptor Dimpy Menon, danseuse Manju Bhargavi and Sheila.

NANDHINI SUNDAR

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