Art and Ecology… and more

Or shall I bring you the sound of poisons?
This is rain now, this big hush.
And this is the fruit of it: tin-white, like arsenic.

---Sylvia Plath: Elm


Sunil Sharma

Sylvia Plath states it so well, so powerfully, so lyrically!

The iconic female voice articulates the aftereffects of the so-called civilizational progress and the poisons and arsenic that are unleashed in the evolving stages of such a development, mainly responsible for the horrors of a mindless raiding of earth and nature for super profits.

Plath is the vanguard of a new kind of poetic awareness: Eco consciousness and advocacy for better, liveable earth.

This month’s focus is on this most-pressing concern of humankind: “Climate Change, Eco-activism, Whisperings of Social Justice”, a special section guest -edited by the noted poet Kushal Poddar.

Talking of his experience, the young artist---known for the radical style and startling imagery---says, “We have been gazing long enough into the abyss of a rapidly unravelling social structure, moral injustice and above all the changing climates and the ecosystem going to rack and ruin. A vast section of us ignores the truths, but even ignoring a truth is a hollow way to acknowledge an anomaly in a false-faith. So, we all have been gazing into the abyss in our own way. Dear Friedrich Nietzsche, does this mean that the abyss has been gazing back into us, changing us, making us lift that safety latch?”

Can art make a difference?

Can it bring the required change and legislation to stop the plunder of the mother earth and her depleting resources?

Can we leave a replenished earth for future generations?

Well, the answer is a big resounding Yes!

Art can perform the crucial role of elevating consciousness and lead to a unique activism. Activism that can deliver hard-hitting and required transformations. Remember Dickens, Gorky, Picasso, Sergei Einstein, Brecht...and many others?

The invited poets in this section speak on behalf of suffering humanity by giving voice to global anxieties and concerns for restoration of eco balance.

(Art by Robert Maddox-Harle: 1. Mother Nature on the Run 2. Search for Ancient Wisdom)

The select digital paintings of the eminent artist from Australia, Robert Maddox-Harle (aka Rob Harle) portray such a scary world of climate change, bleak lands and decreased humanity, emergence of humanoids, and point to the strong possibilities of renewal and hope through introspection, and collective action.

Look at this one by Rob Harle, titled “Aftermath”:

Art and great artists like Rob Harle can mobilise critical public opinion through their works and build up a consensus for public action against policies that endangers the very survival of earth and humanity through a rampant exploitation of resources and destruction of forests, rivers, oceans and lands for profits. In Setu Vintage, we rerun one of his works on raising consciousness on environment and our role in it.

Poetry, fiction, painting, video and film are similarly pressed into service by the greens of the world for the finest cause: The Healed Earth.

Hope our tiny bit in this direction goes a long way in restoring health to the ailing planet.


Another notable feature this month is the First Chapter: Novel, where we spotlight exceptional literary works. This time, it is eminent author, editor, media personality from Canada, Tahir Gora, featured as the inaugural novelist.

In another Exclusive, reputed critic-poet-academic John Thieme revisits Margaret Atwood in his signature style. It is a seminal article that would add to the Atwood scholarship.

Please enjoy the flavours!

Sunil Sharma

Editor, Setu (English)

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