Other than being the givers of oxygen and life, trees have a spiritual connection with human beings.
When the subject of trees pops up, the first thing that comes to one’s mind is the relationship that exists between plants and animals. This bond is much deeper than just providing life-sustaining resources to each other.
In order to celebrate the importance of trees in our lives, the city of Delhi was host to a special ode in the form of an art exhibition titled ‘A Message from the Trees’. It is currently being organised at the Ojas Art Gallery.
The exhibition showcased a plethora of artworks from six different artists, out of which five belong to the Gond tribal community. Artists Abhishek Singh, Bhajju Shyam, Mayank Shyam, Ram Singh Urveti, Durga Bai Vyam and Subhash Vyam contributed to this exhibition.
For a tribal community, trees mean everything. As artist Bhajju Shyam rightly states, “Ped jeewan hai” (trees are life), the artworks put up also represent the strong spiritual connection that exists between trees and the artists.
Interestingly, one can observe the stationary trees get transformed into sacred beings, almost magically, through the depictions in these paintings.
In a chat with Anubhav Nath and Devyani Sahai, director and associate director of the gallery respectively, we learn the idea behind showcasing trees as the centerpiece of the exhibition. Devyani elaborates, “The idea is all around us. Trees are the life of everybody. There is so much of emphasis on trees in India. These artists depict trees in a very ornate and celebratory form.”
Anubhav believes that it is extremely important to listen to the messages that trees disseminate. He says, “Each and every artwork in this exhibition has a different story. Each one is unique in its own way and I salute the artists for coming up with these works.”
Trees, throughout the exhibition, have been depicted in various ways — be it as a woman bearing fruits or a physically sound male.
While the sacred element is eminent in these portrayals, there is a humanistic touch too that can be seen. Devyani explains, “This exhibition lures us to believe that trees are beautiful. A tree as an artform and as a subject is very sound aesthetically. On the other hand, there is also a lot of meaning hidden in its existence.”
When asked about whether these artworks are a part of the ongoing environmental crisis movement, she hints that there is a possibility of that being true.“If it contributes to the movement, it can be seen. But we are not going to scream about it,” Devyani concludes.