Exhibition to celebrate avian species, draw attention towards their declining numbers

 Exhibition to celebrate avian species, draw attention towards their declining numbers

Clockwise from left: Apostlebird, Ashy prinia in a champa tree, Brown-Fish Owl, Great Hornbill and Scarlet finch

Rajkumari Sharma Tankha

If you are bird watcher, ornithologist or just simply love these avian creatures, you must visit the Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre (IHC) in New Delhi between March 14 and 23.

Delhi-based artist, educator and conservationist Rupa Samaria is having an exhibition of her paintings here titled A Bird Call showcasing birds from across the globe, in bright and vivid water colours.

“This exhibition showcases myriads of birds from India and other parts of the world, in vibrant colours through exaggerated brushstrokes and hues. These works are very close to my heart. I find birds beautiful and unique. They fascinate me for their unique and striking plumage,” says Samaria, informing that in all there are about 50 paintings.

Samaria does a lot of research before painting a bird, and even takes feedback from ornithologists. That’s the reason she takes about a month to paint a 3 X 4 feet painting. “Frankly, bird art is not just about making it look life like. What’s important is the concept, and the message you want to give to people through your art,” she says. “I do a lot of detailing. My paintings capture different colours, moods and poses of birds,” she adds.

Talking about her foray into the world of birds, she says, “I have been painting since childhood. But I started focusing on birds when I joined American Embassy School about eight years ago. I would also spend vacations at a friend’s home in Mussoorie where I would spot lovely birds. That is something that became a focus on all vacations thereafter.”

It was then that she decided to take up art full time, and there has been no looking back ever since. “I have been engaged fully in painting birds and holding art exhibitions on birds across India. I have painted the very tiny sunbird in larger than life size because their brilliant colours are not seen by our naked eyes. Through my paintings I like to create interest as well as awareness to protect these precious creatures,” says Samaria.

She is right, for, the show is not just about celebrating these beautiful beings but also to create awareness about the danger birds face today. “We should be alarmed at the statistics of the recent State of India’s Birds report, which show a decline in the number of house sparrows in cities. I believe the time to act is now,” she adds.

Peacock and Satyr Tragopan

On the World Sparrow Day March 20 (11.30am-12.30pm), Samaria will be hosting an hour-long session titled Walk and Talk with conservationist Hema Maira and storytelling by Ananya Mitra.

The session will introduce the fascinating world of birds to children, and include an interactive presentation of the intriguing facts about sparrows, their life, and their habitat.

An ardent bird lover, Samaria works across various mediums such as watercolours, acrylic, charcoal, to depict various moods, poses and habitats of birds found across the Indian subcontinent like owls, sparrows, kingfishers, and numerous other native birds in intricate detail, brilliant hues and loving creativity. “My avian art comes from my love for these creatures, who I love to paint using my brush and sculpt using my hands, a process which gives me immense gratification as an artist,” remarks the artist.

While the birds are in watercolours, it is acrylic on canvas that she loves the most “because it helps me with detailing easily”. Other than paintings, the artist also explores other mediums like sculpture, technology, installations. “Installations interest me more, I dream of making larger than life installations of birds,” says the artist who enjoys travelling and music apart from birding.

The show opens on March 14 and ends on March 23, 11am- 7pm


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