IMG_3630.JPG

While I sip a Starbucks cappuccino in the land of its creation – Seattle, I drink in the city space around me. I’m very far away from my Microsoft Researcher self of 7-8 years ago that sat in the same spot, gracefully, leisurely sipping the same brown beverage. Right now I am mighty aware that I have under a minute to take in the moment, and drink, before my nearly-two-year-old yanks me into his hyperactive self-destructive reality.

Seattle is a picture perfect city. It’s literally like a gentle architects dream fully realized. And this time of year it’s crystal sun shines on a green, indulgent landscape ripe with berries, nectarines, Alice in Wonderlandesque bunnies and daisies.

My mind strays away from the pretty cottages and beautifully executed sidewalks, to the sheer contrast of Bangalore. Its naked, dust charred roads blistered and oozing. It’s trees, craven and tired.

Beneath the charming beauty and wealth of Seattle are the same problems that that we are faced with in Bangalore. Both cities are contributors to the same destruction. While one is protected by its veneer of calm, below turmoil brews, as this New Yorker article suggests. The other shows ravage and pollution daily in its physical environment, enough to make activists out of citizens and artists.

And this is where Jaaga DNA’s work with art in public space comes in. We are, thankfully, not the only ones either. Collectives, individuals and insitutions are all waking up to the power of art and artists working in public space. Over the coming year, I look forward to a strong movement in the socially, environmentally focussed art arena. And Im really glad that we are part of it.