Published: 30th September 2017
This travel company is saving Kerala's River Nila, one beautiful painting at a time
The Blue Yonder has come up with a year-old project where the travellers will document everything that makes the river so crucial to their culture
The world would be a better place if everyone owned up to everything that's going wrong with it. It's not rocket-science to adopt such an attitude and this Art Safari proves just that. It is a safari where the travellers will share their paintings to help in the conservation of an important water body in Kerala — River Nila.
It is a year-long project that will traverse the length and breadth of River Nila passing through the three districts of Malappuram, Palakkad and Thrissur. Running for a short duration of three days twice a month, these journeys will document what makes the river so crucial to the cultural, natural and social heritage of the state of Kerala.
Creative bend: The paintings urge the local communities to get involved in the process of protecting the river
All the sketches and paintings will be made by the travellers who are involved in travelling and documenting River Nila as part of The Blue Yonder — a sustainable travel company — Art Safari. Along with the travellers, the local community members including students from colleges and schools will also be roped into garner more awareness.
The Art safari was a truly a cultural delight. What struck me most was how my expectations of a cultural immersion were surpassed and redefined to a deeper meaning and understanding of existing cultural traditions. Even though the team was quite a diverse mix, we surprisingly bonded and even more so inspired each other to cross our boundaries in art and otherwise
Anila Cherian, one of the participants
Gopinath Parayil, Founder of The Blue Yonder talks about the importance of the idea to protect the river. "Art Safari is an ongoing documentation of Bharatapuzha (River Nila) through crowdsourcing where travellers and locals capture the cultural, natural and social heritage of the region. We believe highlighting the richness and diversity of the region through these sketches allow the locals to see the river and its civilisation in a different perspective. We believe this initiative will also celebrate those artists, artisans and art forms in the way it's never been done in the past".
Check it out: The exhibition and sale of the paintings is taking place at CGH Earth, David Hall in Fort Kochi till October 2, 2017
The travellers who are a part of this project seem to agree with Parayil's vision. George Supreeth, one of the explorers/artist in the team says, "As Penciljammer sketch journalists, we are always interested in peeling back the layers of our subjects, and assembling it again in our sketchbooks. Collaborating with the Blue Yonder for the Nila Art Safari was an amazing experience. We experienced art in the familiar spaces that created them and witnessed scenes from behind the curtain. We spoke with artists and performers about their craft and broke bread with them later. We tried to capture all of this in our sketchbooks. Some of the sketches are frenetic and others relaxed, but every one of them was drawn on location, right where the magic took place. We hope they give you a sense of our experiences along the Nila trail and if our lines are true - a yearning to feel it for yourself."
Arathi Cherian, who is a teacher at an architect school and an active participant of this drive, says, "It was a rare privilege to get to be acquainted with what is my own culture. The experience exposed me to how alienated a lot of young people and I are from our own roots. The vibrant sensuality, stories rich with symbolism, the immersive nature of the whole experience has helped enhance my sense of belonging and connection to this wonderful land.
(The exhibition and sale of the paintings is taking place at CGH Earth, David Hall in Fort in Kochi till October 2, 2017)