TO COMMEMORATE EARTH DAY’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY, 29 ARTISTS FOR THE EARTH DEDICATE THEIR FILM ‘STRIPPED’ TO EARTH’S VOICE
May 12, 2020
April 22, 2020 marks the beginning of year-long commemorations for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day Network. This global environmental NGO grew out of the first Earth Day. Today, it engages with over 75,000 organizations in some 190 countries to lead the environmental movement in the 21st century.
For the 50th anniversary, 29 artists came together for the film ‘Stripped’ and dedicated it to the Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary. ‘Let the voice of Earth be heard’ is what they expressed. The artists include actors, dancers, film directors, musician, singers, elocutionists. All true #ArtistsForTheEarth.
‘Stripped’ was released on ‘Rabindra Jayanti’ (May 8) to remind us of the contribution of India’s first Nobel Laureate and environmentalist Rabindranath Tagore. At the occasion, 9 prominent artists shared their thoughts on the theme ‘Earth Speaks: Are We Listening?’ The program conducted as a webinar had Kaushiki Chakraborty, Regional Director Asia, Earth Day Network in conversation with the artists who not only shared their thoughts but also made individual pledges to do something for Earth.
To set the tone of the discussions, Karuna Singh said, ‘Earth always speaks, but do modern humans listen?’ She drew attention to the fact that our ancestors had a deep connect with nature, and that species continue to hear Earth’s voice. However, homo sapiens today, have muffled the voice of Earth with a cacophony of sounds; Earth’s vistas are shrouded in pollution and by tall structures; and Earth’s fragrance overshadowed by smells of chemicals in the air and the stench of untreated waste. She called upon the artists to make use of their heightened sensitivities to hear Earth Speak and pledge to be icons that help disseminate messages widely about the need to go green immediately.
Tathagata Mukherjee, Director, ‘Stripped’ spoke on the making of the film during the lockdown period by using previously shot footage, and by requesting the artists to individually video-tape and send in inputs. He said: ‘The film Stripped portrays the sharp contrast of Earth in days prior to the ongoing pandemic caused by COVID 19, and the present scenario during the lockdown period. Nature has taught us a lesson that she does not need us, rather we are in dire need of her.’ He added, ‘I dedicate this film to the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, and hope that all those who see it will rethink how we have stripped Earth. Let’s pledge to do all we can to stop rampant destruction of natural wealth. Let’s make sure we bin waste, not lead lives of over consumerism, and help increase the green cover.’ He pledged to ensure that all his films continue to carry green messages as the forthcoming one with mermaids does.
The artist elaborated on what they could hear Earth say, and how these whispers they amplify Earth’s voice to audiences via their different genres of artistic performances. Actor Chaiti Ghoshal spoke about her theater performances, particularly about her role in Tagore’s famous play Red Oleanders. Other actors included Mouli Ganguly who recited an original poem that asked the question ‘Are we listening?’. Debleena Dutt Mukherjee was emphatic about the need to live in harmony with other creatures. ‘Why are there so many zoos around the world?’ ‘Isn’t it inhuman to cage animals and birds?’ she asked. Sreelekha Mitra continued the discussions with thoughts on how we have forgotten that we are one
planet, one people, each responsible for ensuring they do regular Acts of Green – no matter how small. ‘Mother Earth gives us unconditionally, let’s treasure her bounty’ she advised. Sujoy Prasad Chatterjee shared his personal conversations with the sky and also elaborated on ways literature helps focus on environmental concerns.
Choreographer and dancer Sudarshan Chakravarty spoke about his many productions that incorporate issues related to climate change. On a personal level he expressed gratitude every time he saw sunshine or felt the warmth of the sun. ‘These are gifts that nature gives us freely and unconditionally’ he said. ‘But do we respect these? Tabla virtuoso Mayookh Bhaumik cemented this thought by reminding us that all creatures have the same basic elements of life in their bodies. He spoke about the connect of rhythm with nature and demonstrated a percussion composition emulates a peacock dancing, water gushing, and the crackling of thunder. Leading Indian classical vocalist and Earth Day Network India Ambassador Kaushiki Chakraborty elaborated on how Indian classical music by tradition has a strong connection with nature as evidenced in the different raags for the seasons, and in the innumerable compositions that eulogize its beauty. She exampled this by singing an old bandish that describes the beauty of the early morning.
Earth Day Network is proud of these #ArtistsForTheEarth who emphatically pledged to do their bit to ensure that good acts are multiplied to ensure a greener, cleaner, and less polluted Earth. ‘I will give up smoking.’ ‘I will ensure all my films have green messages.’ ‘I will reach out to those less fortunate to help them also understand the need to go green.’ ‘I will vocalize the need to care for animals – in particular the stray.’ ‘I will take public transport more often.’ ‘I will speak from large concert platforms about the need to ban single-use plastic.’ Earth Day Network looks forward to more and more artists being known as #ArtistsForTheEarth.