Art for awareness: Nishtiman Ghaderi uses artistic prowess for sustainability - GulfToday

Art for awareness: Nishtiman Ghaderi uses artistic prowess for sustainability

Nishtiman 3

Artwork made of sustainable material.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

“I started my artistic journey since childhood and learned various techniques and forms of art and painting during that time,” says Nishtiman Ghaderi, a computer engineer with a passion for sustainable art, living in the UAE since 2018. “I embarked on my career and journey as a professional artist since I shifted to UAE.” For a time, as she matured as an artist, she experimented with resin and spirit-based paintings. As her art making evolved, she developed a flair for creating artwork using environmentally friendly material. “I have composed many artworks that depict the beauty of nature and rural settings in 3D format using waste/environmentally friendly materials,” she says. “I use nature as a raw material to create my artworks to invoke emotions, provoke thoughts and inspire action in viewers.” The natural wonders of our planet, she notes, have inspired us to express ourselves in more than words for thousands of years. From Paleolithic cave paintings to Renaissance masterpieces, from street graffiti to digital installations, art has been an integral part of human civilisation, she underlines.

“However,” Nishtiman says, “the environmental crisis we are experiencing now has given birth to a new artistic movement that goes beyond capturing and depicting nature. It seeks to transform nature itself as the work of the artist. Too often, we look at art only in terms of exploration, objects such as visual images (paintings, photographs or sculptures), linguistic images (metaphors and literature, including poetry) or music and performance art (theatre, dance or drama). “Artists engage in these activities in their specific ways using creativity, lateral thinking and intuition. But I firmly believe that sustainability is indeed critical for the arts as it not only deals with exploring new ways of living, new products, new systems and new views and concepts of man, society and nature, but also impacts the very lives of artists and how they live.”

Nishtiman 1 Nishtiman Ghaderi is based in the UAE.

Over the years, Nishtiman has participated in more than 20 live painting initiatives, and displayed her artwork in exhibitions in Dubai, India and Iran. She is associated with Repton School Dubai, Nad Al Sheba, as a volunteer in their initiative to create awareness through sustainable art, amongst the Repton Family. In what was a first in the UAE, she used sawdust, wood veneer and similar waste material from nature, to create artworks. Also, for the first time in the Emirates, she introduced wastepaper pulp based artwork at Repton School, to guide and enable them to meaningfully manage the huge paper waste generated on a daily basis. She was an Instructor in the Paper Clay Class for parents at Repton School Dubai (May - July 2024), on a voluntary basis. The programme was a part of sustainability initiatives undertaken by school, related to the usage of recycled paper there and to use paper pulp as a raw material to eventually making sculptures and different artworks. “Keeping in view the outcome and enthusiasm shown by parents,” says Nishtiman, “the school is planning to incorporate this practice as a part of their ECA (Extra Curricular Activities) for children in the coming academic year 2024-2025, to educate and create awareness among children about the environment at an early age.”

She has created artwork from used tires, to compose a visual artistic symphony in a garden/outside yard area of a villa (2023) in Dubai. “Used tires are a challenging source of waste and considering the large volume it generated, using it to produce a durable artpiece certainly helped in reducing the environmental damage it would have caused if disposed of as a landfill,” Nishtiman emphasises. Another occasion she could show her concern for the environment and educate others in the subject arose during the Annual Student Art Show (ASAS, 2023) at De Montfort University, Dubai.

Nishtiman 2  A composition by Nishtiman Ghaderi.

“ASAS offers a great opportunity for the talent of young budding students of the age group 5-25 from school and universities around the globe to step up and showcase their creativity and express themselves,” says Nishtiman. “I mentored participants with an artwork on the ‘Save earth today to survive tomorrow’ theme. The idea was to create awareness about conservation of nature through art.”

She was privileged to be selected to showcase her artwork based on the theme of sustainability at the 17th edition of DIFC Art Nights in Dubai (Mar. 2024). “My vision,” says Nishtiman, “is to continue to volunteer through my artistic prowess to create an awareness about sustainability by participating in various sustainable art workshops/forums and educating school children and young adults from universities to make them understand their responsibilities towards mother earth. I envision myself leading and being a part of the community building process through sustainable art.” But her art making life is not confined only to promoting sustainable practices. She was part of a group of 40 distinguished artists from Phoenix Art Group, Dubai, who participated in a live painting and calligraphy session for the production of a nine-metre-long Quranic verse over a period of three days (Apr. 1-3, 2023).  Sustainable art encompasses traditional genres and modern art, addressing ethics and conservationist activism. Unlike the classical approach involved in canvas painting, it embraces the environment itself as a medium of creation. Environmental art aims to raise awareness of the dangers facing the planet and promotes its protection, encourages communication and citizen participation to shield nature; it incentivises political commitment to fight global warming and its adverse impact.

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