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Doha resident to represent Qatar in Amsterdam art fair

Peter Alagos

Friday، 23 August 2019 10:18 PM

The artworks of a Doha-based artist who has been campaigning for environmental protection and awareness will be featured in the ‘Amsterdam International Art Fair 2019’ slated from August 30-31 in the Beurs Van Berlage Museum in Amsterdam.
‘For the Planet’ is an art series that raises awareness about the harmful effects of plastic waste on the environment, especially on the ocean and ocean life, Swapna Namboodiri told Gulf Times.
Namboodiri said she started the series in 2015 by creating different types of “sculptural artworks” using non-biodegradable materials, such as discarded plastic bottles, jars, and plastic bags collected from different sources in Qatar.

‘For the Planet’ is an art series that aims to raise awareness on environmental protection

According to Namboodiri, it was forecast that there will be more plastic scraps than fish by 2050, if indiscriminate disposal of plastic materials remains unabated. Citing previously published research, she said “almost 50% of coral reefs are dead.”
“For this series, which will be featured in the art fair, my works were inspired by the glowing corals and bleached coral reefs,” said Namboodiri, who was also one of two artists from the Middle East who participated in the ‘Tokyo International Art Fair 2018’.
Namboodiri, who is a board member of QatArt Handmade Community, also conducted a workshop titled, ‘Creating Art from Trash’ last year to highlight her first solo exhibition on environment protection held at Katara – the Cultural Village.
In the Doha exhibition, Namboodiri showcased 20 of her works, while during the ‘Tokyo International Art Fair 2018’ as many as 23 artworks were on display. For the Amsterdam leg of the ‘For the Planet’ series, she will be showcasing 10 of her latest creations.
Namboodiri said around 150 artists from around the world will converge in Amsterdam to exhibit “various mediums of artworks in this juried show.”
“I’m so proud to be the one taking part from Qatar, and also to be able to share my works in spreading awareness on this great cause…I could also help encourage people to create art using discarded plastics, which would otherwise end up as landfill,” she said. 
Namboodiri said some of the visitors to her first solo exhibition at Katara last year not only collected her artworks but are also supplying her with plastic bottles on a regular basis. 
“It’s really a positive sign to see people willing to contribute for a plastic-free planet. Being part of QatArt was a major breakthrough in my art journey. The handmade markets organised by QatArt, in collaboration with Katara Art Studios, on alternate Fridays at Katara, gave me the exposure to an art loving community,” Namboodiri said. She added: “That motivated me to research and develop more on some unique styles of art. Even though creating art out of trash started off as an experiment to add heavy textures to my artworks, after realising the harsh realities about plastic pollution, I took the pledge to do my part on reducing the plastic trash. Now, each of my works has two to 20 plastic bottles in it.”

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