Art exhibition Under The Chevella Banyan to raise awareness for century-old banyan trees of Hyderabad

The exhibition is an open call to all nature enthusiasts curated by Dr Avani, founder of ICONART Art Gallery.

Priyamvada Rana Published :  27th January 2023 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  27th January 2023 12:00 AM
Artwork from exhibit

Artwork from exhibit

Witness 'Under The Chevella Banyan' — an exhibition of paintings, installations and photographs by 35 artists and photographers is being curated by Dr Avani Rao Gandra this week at Hyderabad Literature Festival and later to be displayed at ICONART Gallery. The exhibition is an open call to all nature enthusiasts to protect 900 banyan trees planted on the outskirts of Hyderabad on the road to Chevella. Dr Avani, founder, ICONART and curator of the exhibition believes that the trees are an integral part of ecology, and heritage and bear spiritual significance.

Giving us a preview ahead of the show, she says, “The exhibition has a cause attached to it — to save the environment and ecology. The government has plans to cut those trees to widen the road, but there is a huge movement among the citizens to protect them. People should be proud of such heritage and be aware that it is on the verge of destruction. If we cut these trees and try to transplant them, it’s not going to work because Hyderabad’s topography does not support transplantation as it’s situated on Deccan Plateau. I wanted to curate this show to generate consciousness among the masses.”

She elaborates on how the green belt of trees can act as a spot for recreation. “It can be revamped as a picnic spot or a driveway from the city and can attract tourism. The area is so beautiful that its aerial view gives an impression of a meandering green river.” Avani belongs to a farming community. Her conditioning in the agrarian region of Telangana has made her empathetic towards nature in all its manifestations.

She tells us about the artworks on display, “I invited artists, photographers, nature lovers, and activists where 45 of us went to the site and conducted an eco-walk and talk to raise awareness about the issue ahead of the show. Later, all the artists came up with outstanding works. For one, an artist portrayed the mythological depiction of the banyan tree as a Tree of Life and wisdom. Another artist created a sonic installation of a heart made from the roots of the trees which beats as the viewer approaches the artwork. Another is an 80 feet artwork made of cloth where the artist has taken imprints of fallen trees on the silhouette. Spectators will also find artwork on the Panchatatva that symbolises the symbiotic relationship between man and nature.”

Exhibition details

This is not the first time that Avani has picked a stimulating topic. She has previously curated shows on girl child awareness, women’s issues and the environment. “I try to use subjects that convey art beyond pleasure, issues that can move people with their visual prowess.” Avani aims to display it at HLF as the event attracts knowledge seekers who would be willing to know about pivotal issues.

January 27-29. At Vidyaranya High School (HLF). Till 20th February at ICONART.
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