Updated: Mar 16, 2020
As we enter the office of our organization, India Rising Trust, a chubby beagle wags its tail at me. This is a rare sight in India - a chubby dog. This dog's name is Mogu and she can never stay still.
The past few weeks we have started working closely with our organization. The project they are working on right now is called UFO (Under Fly Over). During our second week we were invited to the opening of one of their biggest projects yet - Wild Arena. This project was inspired by a recent movie called Wild Karnataka. Karnataka has the most elephants and tigers of anywhere in the world. In order to express the importance of wildlife they transformed the space under the flyover and included educational signage.
They created elephants and tigers out of steel plates and benches from recycled plastic. As you move, the steel creates an optical illusion that the animals are disappearing - a message that wildlife in Karnataka is endangered and may disappear forever due to human actions.
This installation goes beyond just cleaning a space - it creates a sense of pride for the community and has the potential to change social consciousness towards public spaces. As we listened to the opening speech I was amazed at how many people were involved in the transformation. This space is a physical representation of how powerful collaboration can be. Once neglected and filled with trash, it is now beautiful and meaningful. This used to be a rare sight in India, but India Rising Trust has converted so many under the flyover spaces that the paint has now become the norm. This artful reimagination inspires me to not only see what spaces are - but what they can become.
This inspiration makes me feel like Mogu the dog - full of chubby ideas that can't seem to stay still.