Wildlife conservation is her purpose and art is her medium. Her blend of art and science has made Abhisheka Krishnagopal popular among people across generations, particularly children. This Bengaluru-based conservationist sensitises people to micro and macro ecosystems through workshops and outdoor events held across the country. The aesthetic activities help bring about attitudinal changes in people towards different life forms, be it plants, animals or insects, in our ecosystem.
Abhisheka, with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and Masters in Ecology and Environment, has been working in the field of wildlife conservation for over 20 years now. She uses her experience as an artist, dancer, wildlife rehabilitator and researcher to teach science.
Ipsa Jain, a science visualiser, says she realised how art helps people relate to key issues after attending Abhisheka’s workshops. One such project conceptualised by Abhisheka is ‘How to be a fig’, which highlighted the importance of fig trees as a keystone species through dance.
“Such workshops initiate children into science. I realised that there was a lack of ecology-related resource materials in local languages. So, I began using art to teach and also develop educational materials to help people connect with nature,” Abhisheka says.
She adopts sustainable methods to teach children about the various facets of nature.
“I make children use stones, sticks and other locally-available material to create art on wildlife-related themes. The idea is to help them overcome the fear of wild animals and connect better with wildlife,” she adds. Using natural materials is useful in rural areas where there is a dearth of art materials.
Through her workshops, she also encourages people to take note of the different plants, animals, birds and insects around them.
“Such workshops are a great way to improve our observational skills. Only when we observe a cobweb or a bird building its nest do we start appreciating nature. This, in turn, cultivates our love for nature,” says Sriranjini of Kavade ToyHive. She had teamed up with Abhisheka to conduct a nature workshop for children.
“Only when one is aware of a particular species will he or she feel the need to protect it. Such activities prompt them to work towards nature conservation,” Abhisheka says.
She is currently associated with the Early Bird Programme of Nature Conservation Foundation. Early Bird develops educational material to introduce children to birds and trains educators. The team has so far trained more than 300 bird educators across the country.