ODE TO DESPAIR
Work in progress
"I am guilty, my parents were, and my children would be too. Can I change that?”. This was the initial question Madhvee Deb asked herself when she set out on the journey to reduce plastic waste. The short-lived cycle of single-use plastic bags is alarming, yet it is challenging to give up such a highly convenient material completely. Without the ubiquitous plastic, our civilization seems impossible. It has become a pronounced symbol of unmindful consumerism and a throw-away society. At the same time, the accessibility and usefulness of plastic bags are undeniable. This contrasting dialogue intrigued Deb, and she created a series of captivating photographs with found plastic bags; that strangely resemble ocean life. In addition to her photographic explorations, Deb recycles the same plastic into yet another artwork to complete the loop. The abstract images look surreal yet are quite recognisable; this mimics the everyday struggle of knowing that our actions have consequences irrespective of how convenient they may seem.
Deb points to the book Factfulness by statistician Hans Rosling, in which he explains how large sets of publicly collected statistics can paint a more accurate picture of how our world is changing over the course of decades. Based on this theory, instead of looking at the humongous issue of plastic waste in a stagnant form, Deb is staying optimistic focusing on the positive steps that are being taken to curtail the issue. If everyone continues to contribute, gradually we should be able to correct our mistakes. What we are doing is perhaps not enough, but surely is a step in the right direction. Everyone's participation to make the change and save our environment is not only important, but it is URGENT. It makes Deb hopeful that if she plays a role in raising awareness through her work then she can change the equation; from being an abettor to being a contributor towards positive change.