Using ancient art to save trees


Artists in Bihar are painting images of Hindu gods on trees to save them from the axe and protecting the environment. 

This unique social innovation project was started in September by the Gram Vikas Parishad,who collected and organised artists, to use tribal art drawings techniques called Madhubani to deter religious locals from chopping the trees.

They believe the artwork will prompt the deeply-religious to drop any idea of cutting down the trees out of fear of incurring the wrath of the deities, as the tree trunks are decorated with colourful paintings of well-known Hindu gods and goddesses such as Lord Krishna, Goddesses Durga and Saraswati.

The paintings are done with fingers, twigs, the points of fountain pens and even matchsticks, and characterised by brilliant geometrical patterns. Already more than a 100 trees have been decorated. Arti Kumari, one of the dozens of artists who have joined this campaign says, “Not a single painted tree has been cut down yet.”

This initiative has also drawn the attention of the international community. The traditional Madhubani artists believe that they are showing the world how an art form can be used to convey a social message in a positive way; a team from Switzerland has visited to study how art could be used to convey a strong social message. Now this local community hopes this social innovation campaign will be promoted to bring tourists to the region.



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