The first installation that welcomes visitors at Flow-Energy, Essence, Ecstasy of Nature by artist Dr Avani Rao Gandra in the ICONART Gallery at Banjara Hills is a snake made up of match sticks. Named The River of Life, the interactive installation involves the audience. Visitors are asked to light the match sticks while making a wish and, in a way, light up the environment and the life within.
The installation effectively initiates the dialogue with the viewers, instantly absorbing them into the realm of its abstractionism.
Environmental issues through abstract stories
Avani elaborates on her artworks, giving us an insight into what inspired the concept in her. She shares that she’s been working on the series for two years now and has made 60 paintings. Of these, only 32 artworks have been exhibited now, each of which clearly demonstrates the five elements of nature — fire, water, air, space and earth.
“The installations here are the outcomes of my paintings. I was so involved with the process and the cause that I felt art installations may strike a more direct link with the viewers than the paintings,” explains Avani.
She then tells us how the winding form of the installation as a snake, or the abstract form of a river bend, is also symbolic of a spiralled energy that flows along the human spine, making the life source a part of us. “The dark holes along the snake’s body are metaphorical. It can be filled with either celestial music of a flute player or black tar, symbolising our polluted environment-it’s our choice to flow into nature the music or to destroy it,” adds Avani.
Illustrating nature’s magnanimity
Another art installation at the exhibition is titled The Cloud-Showering the Very Soot, which invites visitors to light fragrant incense sticks above the earth mound.
“The mound of black soil is symbolic of the brown of the earth that’s turning black, the soot of the smoke slowly transforming the white of the cloud. The cloud showers back the grime to us. It was my way of mirroring the widespread and fast-paced devastation humans are causing to the environment,” explains Avani.
Even the paintings at the exhibition stay true to the abstract flow of the series, capturing the various aspects of nature and environment, the ecstasy and joy in its presence, exhilaration at its beauty and aesthetics. “My understandings of the essence of nature as a life source, the aspects that are outside as well as within us, revolve around the five elements of nature. Even though the forms were symbolically abstracted in the paintings, I chose to retain the realistic colours of nature as seen in the landscapes of our everyday experiences,” adds Avani. Avani signs off by saying that the exhibition is an attempt to resonate one natural form with another, even as we peer a little into the magnificence of Nature to glimpse the self in its magnanimity.