As we hit a narrow steep with over 23 animals (including our national animal the tiger) bordering on extinction, a cry for help to preserve our planet, its flora and fauna cannot be neglected. In an attempt to do her bit, Nidhi Manjunath, a Bengaluru-based artist has dedicated a part of her life to the cause and won the 2019 Indian Wildlife Artist award under the Mammal Category on January 19.
“My passion for Wildlife began in the year 2012 when I first visited the Pench Tiger Reserve located in Madhya Pradesh where I saw a tiger for the first time.
The pictures did no justice to what I had witnessed for real. The forests itself was so captivating and each species and their true colours, behaviour and free will in their own natural habitat pinned my interest in observing species in their natural habitat. And then I encountered the horrors of rapidly deteriorating flora and fauna triggered by man through deforestation, poaching, poisoning, hunting, and abuse of species. That is when I made a conscious effort to use my artwork as a powerful medium to raise awareness and to use it to contribute towards the betterment of our habitat,” begins Nidhi on what inspired her.
Artists for Wildlife and Nature showcases some of the most talented wildlife artists and the well-deserved ones are rewarded for their contribution towards this vital art form. Having received over 140 artworks, 56 were selected. The artworks were judged and curated by Jan Martin Mcguire, a leading wildlife artist and conservationist.
On receiving the award, Nidhi says, “Winning under the mammal category was like a dream come true. The journey towards the final selection, and subsequently towards this award was not an easy one. We were given strict guidelines. Once we met these guidelines, we had to submit a maximum of six works. I was ecstatic that five of my works made it to the show.”
The wildlife enthusiast and artist is a restaurateur by profession. A self-taught artist, she soon associated with Manju Acharya photography (MAP). It was with this that a wildlife artist and a wildlife photographer came together with the common belief that whilst making a living from their wildlife artwork and photographs, it was only right to balance the success by giving back to Mother Nature.
“On 22 December, 2018 we launched a wildlife art gallery and gift shop — Artists for Wildlife Conservation Karnataka( AWCK). At AWCK, we focus on raising awareness on conserving our bio-diversity. Many unique species of flora and fauna are at the brink of extinction and there is an urgent need to focus on habitat preservation and restoration. We house products that are sourced from various organisations and NGOs who work at the grassroots level with Tribal communities to provide them with an alternate economic structure. Such efforts have been fruitful in empowering tribal communities to earn their livelihood through eco based activities. This drastically brings down the rate of poaching and retaliation killing. About 10 per cent of the profits from sales at AWCK is donated towards various wildlife conservation,” Nidhi explains.
An alumni of Vidya Niketan School, having pursued her masters in marketing from Welingkar Institute in Mumbai, Nidhi worked as an animation advisor for over two years and moved back to the Garden City. “Through AWCK, Manju Acharya and I aim to share our communal desire to love, care, respect and protect our wildlife and its habitat. We wish to reach out to the common man on the present realities of threats to our habitat,” Nidhi concludes....