Friends and neighbours of Delhi-based Manveer Singh found it odd when he requested their household plastic waste. It was hard to understand when he told them it was to beautify their trash by making art installations but they agreed. A few days later he handed them boxes to collect the plastic waste, which he would collect every 15 days.
What started in 2018 as an unusual request to spread awareness about plastic pollution in the city of Delhi, which happens to have a landfill mountain (Ghazipur), has now turned into full-fledged artwork installations. His work has been exhibited in museums, art galleries, art fairs, among other places.
An artist and teacher by profession, Manveer uses plastic the same way a painter uses paint.
“My artistic journey began with getting inspired by nature through landscape paintings. But soon, I realised my paintings are only benefiting me and the buyer. I wanted to do more. I didn’t want nature to be just my subject anymore. On researching, I was shocked to find that farmers are finding layers of plastic instead of water while digging their wells. In the past few years, my life and work have been centred on how planet Earth is transforming into a plastic planet,” Manveer tells The Better India.
So far, he has collaborated with 25 families and diverted 250 kilos of single-use plastic items like wrappers, bags, covers, etc, from landfills. He has made close to 11 artworks using bases like board, tapestry, metal, mirror and so on, each taking an average of 2-3 months.
“I keep all the artwork with me after displaying them in my studio, given that all the materials will take hundreds of years to decompose,” adds Manveer.
Manveer carefully weaves a narrative behind each of his installations, representing the reality of plastic consumption behaviour and the extent of damage one single plastic piece does to the planet.
“I’m on a mission to compel people to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic and practice waste segregation so that plastic can be recycled. For example, my Futuristic Earth Core piece mirrors the future of our planet. It is an inverted pyramid showing the layers of earth. Along with the soil, minerals we will have one layer of plastic. The topmost layer, which is the ground, is cracked that symbolises a drought. Water won’t percolate underground due to plastic waste,” says Manveer.
Check out his stunning and thought-provoking artwork here:
Check out Manveer’s work here
Edited by Yoshita Rao