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Travelling Plants: Where Nature, Art, and History Bloom at Alliance Française of Madras

Launched on June 14, 2024, and running until June 29 at the Alliance Française of Madras, the Travelling Plants exhibition embarks on a journey akin to the diverse pathways of plants. 

This innovative showcase of art and nature will traverse six venues across India and Sri Lanka throughout 2024 and 2025.

In March 2024, the Travelling Plants initiative began with a research residency at The French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP). This phase united five artists from India, Sri Lanka, France, and Germany to explore the fusion of art and nature. Established in 1956, IFP boasts a renowned herbarium containing 27,875 specimens from India and worldwide.

During a four-week residency, artists Karolina Grzywnowicz from Germany, Wendy Therméa from Reunion Island (France), Danushka Marasinghe from Sri Lanka, Waylon D’souza from India, and Rashmimala from India participated in a diverse program at The French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP).

The residency included workshops on cyanotypes and botanical drawing, expert lectures on plant histories, uses, and journeys, and direct interactions with scientists and technicians from IFP’s departments in social sciences, ecology, indology, geomatics, and photo archives.

During their residency, the artists engaged in knowledge exchange sessions, sharing their work and insights through presentations with fellow artists and researchers at IFP. They explored how their creative practices responded to the diverse research streams encountered.

After the residency, the artists returned to their studios to further develop ideas sparked during their time at IFP. Addressing historical, contemporary sociocultural, political, and environmental themes, each artist interprets these concerns through their unique artistic perspectives. Their resulting works will be showcased in the Travelling Plants exhibition, marking the project’s second phase.

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