Archive for December, 2010

Manjeswaram and Kumbala Estuaries

// December 25th, 2010 // No Comments » // Culture and Ecology

Rocks rocked by the roaring Arabian sea for ages: Manjeswar river mouth

River Manjeswar meets the Arabian sea at Manjeswaram estuary between Bengara and Manjeswaram.  Once it was a thriving port town and attracted many cultures and people to its beautiful banks.  The Arabs, Jains and Konkan Brahmans and Baniyas came and settled in this little cosmopolitan town and made it truly multi-cultural.  Many Jain Bastis and temples and old buildings still survive along its old streets.   The river mouth is the sight of an ancient dismantled stone temple and a small fish landing centre now.  I visited the place yesterday at noon (Friday, 24 Dec. 2010) with Mr Satheesh K V.

Red Shank, Manjeswar estuary

The place is rich with aquatic  and avian life.  Shore birds and waders are abundant here.  We saw plenty of Egrets, Pond Herons and Reef Egrets.  Green and Red Shanks were active inside the estuary as well as on the sea shore.  On the southern bank Satheesh spotted more than 200 Sand plovers playing with the waves.

Sand Plovers at the beach, Manjeswar

In the morning at Kumbala estuary we saw a small group of around 20 Open-bill Storks perched on the mangroves to the east of the highway.  At the estuary and near the river mouth we could see more than 1000 seagulls.  The mixed flock included Black/Brown Headed Gulls and Lesser Crested Terns.  A group of 10 Eurasian Curlews were also seen.

Kumbala estuary: Satheesh with local children

Fishing inside and around the estuaries has almost ceased now because of pollution, waste dumping and illegal sand mining.  Plastic wastes and toxic residues brought by the river are also chocking the precious ecosystem.

Asian Open-bill Storks, Kumbala estuary

Satheesh at Mogral Puthur estuary

Green and Red Shanks on the beach, Manjeswar. Photo: Satheesh K V

Curlews in Kumbala estuary, Dec. 24, 2010

Mogral Puthur estuary Photo: Satheesh K V

Affirming Life in Colours: Art as Struggle

// December 6th, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Cultural Politics

Allowing the elements to paint his canvas: Artist Venkat from Chennai

Artistic expression is inextricably linked to the cultural resistance and political struggles of the people.  Human modes of agitation and liberation become creative and constructive through democratic politics of culture that uses creative ways of articulation and developing voice consciousness among the excluded.  Focusing on dalit lives through art becomes significant in India in the context growing inequality and exclusion.

Affirming her own space: Artist Christy from Chennai

More than 30 artists basically belonging to the challenged sections of society from all over south India participated in the 4th annual Art Workshop program held in Vagaman in the first week of December 2010.  The participants included art professors from major Universities to art students and independent artists and activists.

My own: Untitled paintings in Acrylic

Art students and professors from JNT University, Hyderabad and Myosre University were in the forefront this time.  Radical dalit artists and dalit feminist artists from Chennai were also there from the very beginning.  Folk and tribal practitioners of art also found their space in the workshop.

British painter Amanda in conversation with artists and critics in the historic Asa Sadan designed by Laury Baker

The camp was organized by Vikas Adhyayan Kendra of Mumbai. The artists explored various socio political and cultural questions of their time and space on canvas.  They focused mainly on the visualization of the struggles of the marginalized for denied equal rights and dignity.  Art critics from Kerala and abroad also visited and interacted with the practitioners of political art.  I too did two paintings this time.