Wake up, or be left with a skull - Art director's installation highlights hazards of e-waste

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  • Published 26.02.13

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 25: A grinning skull is usually seen as a sign of danger. And that’s what Bollywood art director Sukant Panigrahy’s ‘Kapala’ highlighted — the dangers of electronic waste.

At Bring Your Own Film Festival, which concluded today in Puri, artist and well-known Bollywood art director Sukant Panigrahy had set up Kapala — a replica of a human skull made of e-waste.

The art installation grabbed eyeballs of both participants and the visiting public.

Concerned about the mindless race for technology and latest gadgets that is creating a huge impact on the environment and the earth, Sukant came up with this idea during his participation at the famous Kalaghoda art festival in Mumbai.

“I create installations, mostly street art or public art, out of junk almost every year at the Kalaghoda. The thought that we are in a mad race to produce and own more and more gadgets and electronic items without giving a second thought to the huge junk we are building up bothers me. So, I came up with Kapala, a skull that is well known as a symbol of danger but in its new avatar, made out of circuit boards, mouse, sockets, wires and a lot of other e-scrap,” said Sukant.

The art director of Dev D, Ek Tha Tiger, Heroine and many other Bollywood films, Sukant wants producers of electronics to try and find a way of recycling e-junk. He believes that for greater steps to be taken, the public must first understand the perils of ever-growing electronic garbage. Hence, he has created 15 different models of his Kapala and displays them as street art at various venues across the country as part of a travelling exhibition.

“The original one that I created at Kalaghoda is about 20-feet high. Since it is not feasible to carry it to different cities, my team has come up with different smaller versions of the skulls,” he said. So far, Kapala has travelled from different venues in Mumbai to an art exhibition by the Environmental Department of Gujarat, Jamnagar, followed by a trip to Hyderabad at a cycle convention and then to Pune Amanora town centre and now in Puri, Odisha.

Fitted with disco lights, smoke effect and many visual attractions, the Kapala is an interactive form of artwork.

“We see people coming and trying to touch it and feel it and they get surprised by the lights or smoke it emits. They inquire about Kapala and what it portrays. It is indeed getting the impact it was created for,” said film-maker Sushant Mishra, a member of Bring Your Own Film Festival (Byoff).

Actor Gurpal Singh, a friend of Sukant, who is at Byoff, gave the installation an interesting slogan — “aaj nahin toh skull” (wake up now or all you’ll be left with is a skull).

“This is a great concept by Sukant and we hope it generates the interest it got here everywhere,” said Gurpal.