BHUBANESWAR;5/12/18: Song of the Wild is a not-for-profit organization that focuses on the need to document precious flora and fauna that face intense threat worldwide due to degradation of natural habitats, global warming and climate change. As a part of its core philosophy, the organization focuses on engaging the younger generation with natural habitats and outdoors, in order to inculcate the consciousness of nature conservation in them.Only 75 minutes away from Bhubaneswar, near Tangi, lies the magical bird paradise of Mangalajodi. Located at the north-eastern edge of Chilika lake, this 10 sq km patch of marshland has remained in the shadow of its famed parent lagoon. Mangalajodi is one of the largest of the 132 villages that stand on the banks of Chilika Lake. It hosts more than three lakhs migrating birds every winter. The magical beauty of the habitat, its position of pre-eminence in the Chilika ecosystem, and the exemplary conservation story make Mangalajodi a gem in the biodiversity map of the world
A rich natural inheritance such as Mangalajodi belongs to the whole world. With global warming and climate change looming large over the earth, this critical expanse of biodiversity needs to be sustained for the cause of common good and as an inheritance for future generations. To this effect, eminent wildlife photographer from Odisha, AvinashKhemka is leveraging photography as a potent medium to not only showcase natural beauty but also to encourage engagement, collaborations, documentation, and, discourse, highlighting the biodiversity of ecosystems, and, advocating the cause of conservation through photographic documentation. Song of the Wild is showcasing photographs of Mangalajodi by Avinash Khemka, in an exhibition titled “The Magic of Mangalajodi” at Lalit Kala Akademi Regional Centre, Bhubaneswar, from 7th to 13th DECEMBER 2018.
The images on display have been visualized and shot from varied perspectives, and reflect the beauty and potential of this rich wetland habitat, which lies strategically at close proximity to the capital city, Bhubaneswar. The photographs are printed and mounted to world class standards. For the very first time in India, the images have been printed on imported metal sheets, rendering a lustre and clarity incomparable with any other medium. This event therefore would be a treat for lovers of art, photography, conservation and aesthetics, conforming to the highest levels of exhibit and display. The exhibition has been curated by eminent ornithologist and author Bikram Grewal, noted wildlife photographer Sandeep Dutta, and well-known birdwatcher and conservationist Panchami Manoo Ukil.The idea behind the display is to not only take the beauty of the habitat to a larger audience, but to also disperse the conservation story to the world, and solicit contributions from all stakeholders towards ongoing conservation efforts at Mangalajodi. Students from schools, colleges, as well as children from orphanages in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack have been invited to view and participate in this exhibition. It is critical to disseminate the importance of natural habitats in the younger generation and inculcate a “conservation consciousness” in them as they are the torchbearers of the future.
Avinash Khemka is a Odisha based amateur wildlife photographer. He has been photographing wild habitats in India since the last seven years. On his first ever visit to the Mangalajodi wetlands, he was dazzled by the magical beauty of the habitat as well as the jostling flocks of birds that seemed to carpet the scape and the skies. This pristine bird paradise that holds one of the world’s greatest conservation stories in its folds, beckoned him again and again. As Avinash says – “on every visit I wished that I could just stay back and remain immersed in the soothing pristinity of nature’s canvas.” With state-of-art photography equipment to aid him, he began to capture the avian diversity and landscapes in his lens, through the seasons, year after year. The images presented in this exhibition have been curated out of more than ten thousand images of Mangalajodi captured over the last five years.