Leonardo DiCaprio says,
“As we progress into the twenty-first century, anyone who considers themselves a realist will have to make the environment a top priority.”
In our #FridayFeature blog focusing on the #WonderWomen segment, we present someone who feels the same way about nature conservation, especially about wildlife and more specifically about endangered birds. Meet, Wildlife Artist and Creative Conservationist, Niharika Rajput, who through her artistic venture Paper Chirrups, aims at spreading the message of bird conservation. How does she manage to use her passion and art for wildlife conservation to create incredible hand-made paper birds, and what made her choose such a career path? Let’s find out in her own words.
“Growing up, I was that child who would choose jungle safaris and rides into nature reserves over visiting the beaches and mountains. I have always been a deep admirer and keen observer of all things wild. This got lost somewhere when life caught on and without realizing it, I stopped observing these creations of nature.
When the time came to make my career choice, I was clear in my head that I wanted to be an artist because growing up I always loved building three-dimensional stuff. So, I decided to amalgamate the two, my love for art and my fascination with wildlife. However, my specific focus was still unclear.
During this phase, I came across a flock of 10 to 12 Red Billed Blue Magpies while visiting Himachal Pradesh and this sighting cemented my certainty that the focal point of my art would be winged species.
With my focus now clear, the initial struggle began, as the deeper I delved the greater number of challenges these birds faced came to the fore; climate change, loss of habitat, hunting, poisoning, illegal trade are just a few to name. These really opened my eyes to the plight of birds. So, I started using my creative and artistic abilities as a channel of communication to reach as many people as possible.
I vowed to use my artistic talents to support and celebrate the natural world, while trying to inspire others to do the same. My focus is on Bird Conservation in India and all over the world. And I actively work to promote the restoration, protection and conservation of all endangered wildlife through art.
The work requires detailing and focus. However, I still wouldn’t label any of my hardships as struggles as it has all been a learning process. Starting from how I was going to build these sculptures, to marketing my work, photographing them, finding the right kind of customers. Honestly, I am still learning and probably will in the coming years.
It’s all very interesting and sometimes frustrating too. But at the end of the day you need to be patient and never stop working.The turning point was getting awarded an Artist Residency in Canada, which gave me great exposure.
It was called fresh AIR (Residency) at Caetani Cultural Centre in collaboration with Allan Brooks Nature Centre. It was a three months long Residency wherein I had to build three sculptures of the Hummingbirds found in the Okanagan Valley. During this time and to create these sculptures, I worked with many ornithologists, scientists and researchers from across the world. My biggest motivation of course is nature. Its elements have always inspired me, without any doubt and I am constantly amazed at nature’s sophisticated mechanisms.
My journey so far has been great, I have achieved and received things that I never imagined even existed. Today I get to work with many wildlife organisations, ornithologists, forest departments, scientists, researchers, and people from various walks of life, all of whom are equally or even more passionate about nature and its conservation. I also run various Art for Wildlife conservation initiatives which involves conducting workshops with children and the local community. It gives an immense sense of fulfillment to pass on the importance and knowledge of nature and its conservation on to the mind of the future generations.
The biggest milestones in my professional journey I believe have been these:
- Artist-in-Residence program in British Columbia, Canada.
- Artist-in-Residence program at Ladakh Arts and Media Organisation
- The many articles that have been published in reputable publications.
Future plans? I’m a highly ambitious soul, so I have many plans in terms of building many more species of birds and animals. I am very keen on building a nature interpretation center in Ladakh which will help educate the local community about the wildlife found in and around their region.And I also want to conduct many more workshops in India and across the world.
The learnings have been many, big as well as small. But the most important one has been to have patience and perseverance because,
“Patience leads to perfection and perseverance helps you to reach your goal, even though it might be slow”
To drop in a message to Niharika, check out her amazing 3D art sculpture models of birds and animals, inquire about them or buy one or more of these art pieces, follow the links below:
Other professional platforms
Niharika’s work and life story has been featured on multiple online as well as offline platforms. You can have a look at these features through links provided below:
Newspapers and magazine features