METIS Initiative – 2021: Workshop by Manveer shows kids the way to create beautiful art forms from plastics

Bhubaneswar : With the plastic menace in our daily life attaining a dangerous level day after day, Delhi-based artist Manveer Singh_ the winner for the “METIS Initiative on Plastics and Indo-Pacific Ocean 2021” Residency of city-based Utsha Foundation for Contemporary Art, shared his knowledge and inspired students on how to convert the plastic to meaningful art forms.

The artist, staying at Utsha Foundation for his work interacted with 28 peer leaders (pragati stathis) of the Socially Smart Bhubaneswar Project conducted the interactive workshop on the campus of BDA City Centre and spread the message to the youth leaders so that they would also spread the message in their communities. Manveer’s residency at Utsha is being organised in collaboration with French Development Agency (AFD).

The artist, through interactive tools explained the participants that how plastics have started polluting the soil, ocean and the air and unless we start the initiative on our own, it would be too late and we could face a toxic environment everywhere around us. Member Finance Bhubaneswar Development Authority Sanjay Das and General Manager (Special and Social Projects) of Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited Diptirani Sahoo also joined.

Currently the artist is not only collecting plastics through his 40 odd habit changer boxes placed at several locations across the city, but also interacting with students of different educational institutions to spread the awareness on plastic pollution.

Through his single-handed approach and team of dedicated workforce to manage the plastic pollution, Manveer has so far helped in up-cycling/reusing more than 350 kg of plastics in India. He displayed his techniques of weaving the coloured plastics to create beautiful objects, which would be given different shapes and sizes to create art objects. Besides the interaction at a personal level, the artist also spoke to the participants and got to know their views on the issues from plastics at global level.

Swarnaprabha Nayak, a student of Plus Three Arts from Debroy College, Nayapalli, who was part of the workshop, said “we came to know and realize the extent of pollution from plastics around us at the workshop. I will definitely try to minimize its effect in our environment.

Chinki Das, a Class-X student from Unit IX Girls’ High School said “apart from keeping the plastics to recycle and reuse, I also came to know that we must ensure segregation of wastes at source to rescue our environment from the plastic menace.’’

Dinesh Behera a Plus Two first year Arts student from Ekamra College, Bhubaneswar said “the workshop enlightened us in many ways so that we can help the city in a clean and green vision.’’

As part of this METIS grant Manveer will develop an artistic work on the endangered sea turtles on the concept of plastics and ocean survival in Odisha context. The artwork will be based on plastic waste to create public awareness about recycling and the need to reduce consumption. The art work is likely to be displayed on the Puri Beach on November 23. The final display at Utsha Foundation will be held on November 28.

The METIS initiative is part of the French Development Agency (AFD) celebrating its 80th Anniversary on December 2, this year and for this the agency has planned events across the Indo-Pacific Region. AFD has decided to launch a global initiative METIS, to create a global public opinion on marine debris and pollution.

Currently, AFD is funding the City Investments to Innovate, Integrate and Sustain (CITIIS) Programme in Bhubaneswar and 11 other cities of India through the Smart City Mission. AFD is funding CITIIS Programme, supported by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, European Union and National Institute of Urban Affairs, New Delhi. Utsha Foundation has been working in the field of Visual Arts with an objective of inspiring younger generation of artists and art enthusiasts to explore new idioms of creative expression in Odisha.

It is to mention here that Manveer’s entry was selected from 26 applicants. His project “From Plastic to Art” was selected by a two-tier jury comprising experts in the field of Art, Environment and Urban Development during September last.