Sudarshan Pattnaik’s Sand Art Creates a Wave to Free the Arctic 30

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Feature story - November 10, 2013
Someone once said, 'Art imitates life' and rightly so. Most of us know of Sudarshan Pattnaik's sand art, which is really his unique way of communicating some very important issues to the world, through art. To him these issues are extremely important, which is the reason he depicts them in a larger than life manner for everyone to see and respond by taking action.

10 November 2013

Sand Art by Sudarshan Pattnaik. © Greenpeace India

On November 8th, he did the same for the Arctic 30 in Odisha. He created a massive sand art, which beautifully captured the Arctic Sunrise and the 30 people (28 Greenpeace activists and 2 freelance journalists), who were arrested in the Arctic on September 18th this year. For peacefully protesting against oil drilling in the Arctic.

As you read this, they have been charged with piracy and hooliganism and may face a jail term of up to 7 years in Russia. Let's not forget that climate change is real and it's not going affect a small part of the world. Instead, it's going affect one and all. Elucidates Rachel Pearlin, Campaigner, Greenpeace India, "The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on the planet and is experiencing some of the most severe climate impacts on Earth. Given that the worsening impacts of climate change are felt worldwide - with India and our people being especially vulnerable to storms, droughts and floods - it is very important that India uses its position in the Arctic Council to press for full protection in the Arctic."

Shares Sudarshan Pattnaik about his involvement with the Arctic 30, "I wanted to create an image that represents the struggles of the Arctic 30, clawed in chains but still going strong in spirit. Also, it was important to recreate the Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise through my art because the ship is symbolic to the work that Greenpeace has been doing in the Arctic and climate change."

For us, it was indeed overwhelming to have so many people join us in Odisha for the sand art. Some of the people included Members of the Parliament, Mohan Jena, Rudra Madab Ray and Pinaki Mishra along with Collector Naba Kumar Naik and District Magistrate Dr. UC Maji, along with actors Subhranshu and Sidhanta Mahapatra.

There have been world wide protests and appeals to call on the release of the Arctic 30. Famous artists like Gary Taxali from Canada, Eduardo Kobra and Riccardo Guasco, have contributed their ideas and art to show solidarity with the Arctic 30.

In addition, civil society members, activists and people from all over the world have been protesting continuously over the past 51 days for the release of the Arctic 30.

Political leaders and governments have also taken a lead in advocating their support for the cause and are trying relentlessly to free the Arctic 30. All because a potential oil spill in the Arctic can be devastating, and will create an environmental catastrophe. The Arctic is a sensitive, fragile and pristine environment. In an event of an oil spill, the natural habitat - its unique flora fauna could face serious threats. Greenpeace is calling the Arctic to be declared as a sanctuary just like the Antarctic. And we hope we are able to achieve that before it's too late.

To view more artistic contributions to the Arctic 30, please click here: