Parag Tandel, 32, a resident of Vithowa Koli village near Thane sculpted five fish from garbage fished out of the Thane creek on Thursday.
Tandel grew up in the creekside village noticing the increasing amount of trash and decreasing amount of fish caught in the fishing nets.
Part of the public art project, (En)counters: The Fluid City, Tandel’s sculptures were ironically named, ‘Big Catch’, to highlight the abundance of garbage reeled into the fishermen’s nets.
“This is my attempt to present the adverse effects of pollution,” said Tandel, a diploma holder in sculpture and modeling from the JJ School of Arts.
Each of the five fish is made from trash such as footwear, bulbs, tyres, plastic bags and bottles collected from the creek and will be displayed near Vithowa Bunder. On January 8, Tandel will teach underprivileged children to make sculptures. The local Koli festivals will also display the sculptures to spread awareness on the perils of garbage dumping in the creek.
Vithowa village has 99 Koli families but only ten of them earn a living by fishing.
“We had every variety of fish until late 1990s in the creek. Now we only get the black mud fish and the creek is mucky,” said Arun Kotkar, 54, who opted for a service job.
At Sewri Fort, artist Pradeep Mishra, 33, planted flags with embroidered motifs of sea creatures into the fort’s walls. With help from local residents he later hauled in a boat to rest inside the fort. He will paint and fill the boat with water and rose petals over the next few days.
“With a public art project such as this, the work is left for the people to enjoy and respond it, it belongs to them,” said Mishra.
“I’m not looking to impose anything but to let people experience it for themselves.”