For the Planet, this expat artist turns plastic waste into art

A Qatar-based artist, who was one of two participants from the Middle East in the ‘Tokyo International Art Fair 2018’, is eyeing to hold a solo exhibition in the country to help raise awareness on the damages caused by plastic waste to the environment.

Indian expatriate Swapna Namboodiri’s artworks belonging to the ‘For the Planet’ series were well-received at the art fair’s fourth edition held in May where more than 150 exhibitors from over countries participated.
The 23 artworks in the ‘For the Planet’ series that made their international debut in Tokyo, Japan are made from discarded plastic products, mostly bottles and bags, Namboodiri said.
According to Namboodiri, who is a board member of QatArt Handmade Community, once discussions are finalised with Katara — The Cultural Village, she plans to exhibit her artworks this coming winter season.
QatArt has been a regular fixture at the Katara Art Studios Building 19 where the group holds different types of workshops for both children and adults; its members also sell a wide variety of handmade products usually on Fridays, making the venue a popular weekend destination.
“Qatar and its residents have helped mould me as an artist, so this exhibition will be a chance to give back to my audience by spreading awareness about the harmful effects of plastic pollution.
“It will also be an opportunity to share my views and ideas on ways to reduce the harm through reducing, reusing, and recycling plastics. I am also thinking of holding short workshops for the people throughout the exhibition on creative ways to recycle plastics,” Namboodiri told Gulf Times. She noted that she hopes to inspire others to think creatively when discarding plastic products.
“The general feedback I get is that my works are a new experience for art lovers because they are different from conventional artworks and methods. And if these works can inspire one person to think creatively with our plastic waste, I can consider it as a success,” she stressed.
Asked how it felt to represent Qatar in the Tokyo exhibition, Namboodiri said: “I was proud to be one among the two artists from Middle East. Qatar has played a major role throughout my art journey and this was a major milestone in my career. The acceptance and confidence that I received from the audience here helped me to present myself on an international art scene.”
She added: “The concept of ‘Art for a Cause’ was well-received by the audience. As an artist, it was my chance to spread awareness on plastic pollution and ways to reduce it. People were mostly surprised to know that plastics could be transformed this way, and can be treasured for ages instead of throwing them in landfills. Most of the art lovers spent some valuable time at my booth and was eager to know about the story behind my works.”

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