‘International Mother Earth Day’ is a reminder of how the Earth and its ecosystems provide us with life and sustenance. It is also a reminder of how we have misused and abused our planet for several decades now.
Metropolitan cities across the world are seeing severe climatic changes leading to air pollution, water contamination and lack of tree cover. This has affected the health of people and reduced life expectancy.
With the Mother Earth Day falling on Sunday, 22 April this year, it is time we pay back the abundant resources that we have been taking for granted for a long time now. So, this Sunday and beyond, go out and plant more trees, clean up your surroundings, reduce plastic usage and make a difference. Let’s take a step towards protecting and preserving our Mother Earth before it is too late.
On this occasion, we at ArtsPositive, a non-profit, which raises awareness on how art can create positive social change, spoke to three botanical artists about their views on ‘Mother Earth Day.’ Flora and fauna are equal parts of our ecosystem and botanical art uses these elements to create meaningful artistic expressions.
Like Mamakan, a Singapore-based Danish botanical artist inspired by the feminine spirit of nature. Her artistic practice ranges from contemporary installations to fine art photography, blending poetry with sensorial experiences that inspire viewers to contemplate about our relationship with plants, flowers and trees at the most intimate level of the human mind, conscious and unconscious.
'Daughter of the Soil' by Mamakan
Reminiscing about her childhood, Mamakan says, “In Denmark, our family home had a huge garden with apple, plum and hazelnut trees. As a child, searching for hazelnuts seemed like a treasure hunt. I was always surrounded by plants and nature”.
Talking about her views on Mother Earth she said, “Mother Earth is very much part of me. In fact, my name is inspired by Mother Earth. “Mama” means mother earth and “kan”, a Danish word, means “to be able to”. I love to show the wonder and beauty of Mother Earth to the world through my art. Mother Earth is in reality a part of everyone, although some tend to look at it separately”.
Mamakan, Singapore-based Danish Botanical Artist
It is indeed true that Mother Earth is part of every human being. It is in our hands to save the Mother Earth for our future generations.
Neera Joshi Pradhan, a leading botanical artist from Nepal, believes that the importance of nature, the earth as the mother, is symbolised as the power, love and creation that continues and hopes to bring the human and nature come close and make this beautiful planet.
Acrylic on Canvas by Neera Joshi Pradhan
Neera’s works are exhibited in Nepal and worldwide. Her approach to combining art and science first began in 1999 with the book “Flora from Kathmandu Valley.”
Her botanical artworks have been in collection of Marie Selby Botanical Garden/Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh, Scotland and many private collections around the world.
“Botanical art is the art of understanding Botany. The world of Botanical art and illustration not only appreciates nature or gives the artistic pleasure or the aesthetic aspects, it also values social, cultural needs and does excellent service in plant science,” says Neera.
Neera Joshi Pradhan, Botanical Artist from Nepal
Botanical art is a beautiful amalgamation of science and art that few people know. Depicting plants the way they are and yet artistically, is indeed an art.
Phansakdi Chakkaphak, another talented botanical artist, describes how the Mother Earth changed his life. Phansakdi was born in Thailand in 1949, studied at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok and the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has designed and illustrated botanical art for several publications.
Phansakdi Chakkaphak, Botanical Artist from Thailand
His artworks from the Shirley Sherwood Collection were selected for several exhibitions in Pisa, Singapore and at Shirley Sherwood Gallery, Kew Gardens, London. “Botanical art to me is an art that captures the true nature of plants. My artworks show the passion I have for plants. The natural beauties of all details of plants inspire and challenge me to paint them,” says Phansakdi.
Mother Earth Day to Phansakdi means an event to raise public awareness around the world about the preservation of mother earth. It is the nature and its beauty that lead him to pursue botanical art.
“It never feels like work, if you love what you do. And there is inspiration in everything and everywhere. All you need is an eye for it”, Phansakdi says.
Watercolor & Gouache on Paper by Phansakdi Chakkaphak