The little tree made of trash

Pankti’s tree is up! It’s at the entrance of Rishi Valley School in front of the art gallery and it looks terrific! Two other students took her artist’s statement and made a gorgeous piece of art displaying the text. Girls living in my hostel and some other students came over to help plant bean seeds in the glass bottles that we put around the base of the tree. It will be interesting to see how long it will take nature to take over! More importantly, I hope all who travel past it will reflect on their consumption habits and what they consider to be trash.

Pankti’s statement:

“The Tree” is an installation piece that visually represents the trash situation at Rishi Valley School. Everything on the tree was found in our brick-lined pits, used as dumping grounds, behind most of the hostels, and filled with about 1.5 metres of garbage, much of which was in perfectly usable condition. The aesthetic value of these objects made me want to create this sculpture to bring awareness to my community about the kinds of things we waste, because what we throw away reflects what we value.

The basic structure of the tree was made from the skeleton of a folding chair found outside Palm House, and tied together using bits of wire, which was found in the pits. The leaves were cut from an old yoga mat and VCR tape was used to hang various objects.

The tree displays a variety of materials, including plastics, paper, e-waste (batteries, light bulbs, floppy disks), organic waste (symbolised by the coconut and the shell), and other waste from the hospital (discarded medicines–some of which had never even been used!) and spoons from the Dining Hall.

Footwear was the most common perfectly usable item which was thrown away and so to make a statement about that several types of chappals were included on the tree.

“The Tree” is surrounded by glass bottles from the pits, which have been planted with creepers. As these plants take over and climb their way up the tree, it will illustrate the reality that one day nature will also take over our trash. Or so we hope.

By Pankti Patel, ISC 2016

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