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Say hello to hummingbirds

Art meets nature in the Hummingbirds book  

The brilliant art works of two young Bengaluru-based artists, Sangeetha Kadur and Vydhehi Kadur feature in Hummingbirds, a book on one of the most vibrant and admired bird species in the world, written by avian biologist John C. Arvin.

Felis Creations, a visual arts company in Bengaluru and Gorgas Science Foundation, Texas, have together published this book containing 98 plates, which feature 127 species of hummingbirds. This is the first of two volumes and will be released on August 18, along with an exhibition of the artworks from the books at the Venkatappa Art Gallery.

Every living species of hummingbird is illustrated in a manner that showcases both male and female, an aspect of their behaviour, and a glimpse into their natural environment in this book, says Sangeetha. The bird’s life history, distribution, adaptations, morphology and conservation status is noted in the text. The project has been two years in the making. Sangeetha, a keen birdwatcher has been into wildlife art ever since she graduated 10 years ago. She and her brother Sandesh Kadur, a popular wildlife photographer and filmmaker, and cousin Vydhehi form Felis Creations.

“As wildlife artists, and keen naturalists, we have tried to depict these birds realistically. This is a coffee table book that looks at the subject from both the scientific and artistic aspect,” says Sangeetha, who regularly conducts nature journaling workshops ‘Green Scraps’ in the city.

The idea was to look at the bird species and the plant they are associated with. “We had a researcher on board. We did a lot of reading up, started illustrating, trying out different compositions to show all their facets. Field guides usually have one angle of the bird,” observes Sangeetha. “Regardless of how realistic our works are, you can see how differently we have expressed our own artistic styles,” points out Vydhehi.

Of the 98 illustrations in the book, Sangeetha has done 29 and Vydhehi 25. The remaining are by another artist Raul Andrade from America. With a master of arts in Landscape Studies, Vydhehi says one of the biggest takeaways for her from this project was she learnt a lot about her own capabilities, and helped her explore various facets of art. While Vydhehi has used water colours and acrylics, Sangeetha and Raul’s works use only acrylics.

The book will be launched and the art exhibition inaugurated at the Venkatappa Art Gallery, Kasturba Road on August 18, 5 p.m. The exhibition of artworks will remain on display at the gallery till August 22, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The book, priced at Rs. 3,600, is available on www.felis.in

BIRDS IN WORDS

*Hummingbirds, the smallest species of birds in the world, are found only in the Americas (New World) – there are over 360 species.

*They are not found in India, and are often mixed up with Sunbrids, which are visually similar but are not even closely related as species.

*They are known for their unique ability to fly backwards and upside-down.

*The world’s smallest bird is the Cuban Bee Hummingbird, which weighs less than a penny.

*The South American Sword-billed Hummingbird is the only bird which has a bill longer than the length of its own body.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2020 3:09:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Say-hello-to-hummingbirds/article14572738.ece

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