Nya Drishti- Transforming A Dying Rain Tree Into A Living Sculpture,
Golibar Slum of Mumbai
I grew up in Mumbai and remember walking to school along roads lined with giant Rain trees. On my last visit I was saddened to see these same trees either dead or dying. They reminded me of the Ash trees in Chicago which have been dying as a result of the Emerald Ash Borer. In 2013, my husband Karl and I participated in an awareness project sponsored by the International Sculpture Center and the Chicago Park District where we converted a dying ash trees into a living public art sculpture.
The Rain trees have been slowly dying in Mumbai due to a combination of factors; an increase of the mealy bug population, the vulnerability of the rain trees caused by concretization and the changing climate that has brought higher temperatures. The goal of the Nya Drishti project was to draw attention to the plight of the Rain trees and to empower residents so they could feel that their voice and actions could help achieve positive change in their neighborhood.
Planning discussions with youth and women from local NGO, MarketPlace: Handwork of India (MP) included our interdependence with the rain trees and their contribution to the ecosystem of Mumbai, their vulnerability as their roots are increasingly covered with cement to accommodate wider roads and our role in safeguarding them. The brain storming process was new to the participants who enjoyed putting forth their ideas about color and symbols to communicate their vision. Discussion included thoughts on how to care and protect the Rain trees, celebrate their service to our well-being and remember the important role that trees play in our lives.
Nya Drishti is a collaboration with youth and women from Marketplace Handwork of India. (MP) an innovative fair trade NGO that has worked in the Golibar slum of Mumbai for over two and a half decades www.MarketPlaceIndia.org and ArtOxygen (ArtO2), a Mumbai-based art initiative curating and producing art projects in public, open spaces.