Plasticvalla is one of those few artists who have turned their art practice into a tool to fight against some of the real issues of our time. He aestheticises trash such as plastic from his genuine effort not to let the unrecyclable plastic bags return to nature.

A post-graduate from College of Art, New Delhi, Manveer aka Plasticvalla has been invited to several art residency programmes in India and abroad, including International Art Residency at Art Hub on Environmental Awareness in Abu Dhabi (2019), Utsha Residency Programme (2019) and Art Residency in Ladakh organised by UNDP (2019). He was awarded the Prafulla Dahanukar award in 2017, 2018 and 2019. He made an installation at the Asian Heritage Foundation in 2019. His work, created as part of the residency programme in Abu Dhabi, will travel to Manarat Gallery and Louvre Abu Dhabi.

His works have been displayed in a number of group shows since his early college days. Plasticvalla is presently working as an Assistant Professor at his alma mater.

Manveer’s work has always been inspired by nature and is made for nature. His traditional oil and acrylic strokes translated into the plastic layers with carefully curated colours. In his journey of changing his medium, he started using plastic due to its impact on the very nature that he was trying to depict. What was after all the point of painting the Beaty of nature when it was being constantly tainted with these unnatural man-made components? Since then, Manveer has been able to re-use nearly 350Kgs of plastics through his endeavours. He also collected the plastic for his installation through the various ‘Habit Changer’ boxes that he had set up throughout Bhubaneswar city. Considering it his responsibility as an eco-artist, he has always aspired to create awareness amongst people regarding the plastic that they use, unknowingly. Simple packaging materials like juice tetra packs or even milk packets are hard to recycle. Having collected each of these pieces, going through the arduous process of cleaning every single one of them and then segregating them in their respective colour sections is the long process that happens for each of these artworks. Into each piece of plastic that goes into his artworks, is invested with a lot of love and care. That is how piece by piece Plasticvalla creates larger than life installations. Manveer was among the 26 applicants who had applied for the Metis initiative on plastics and the Indo-pacific Ocean 2021 grant. His extraordinary effort towards changing the larger mindset of the Indian context towards reused plastic-based art had perhaps gotten him this platform. Perhaps at the same time, it was the keen interest he takes as an individual towards this cause. All revolutions come from art and as a society, we are at a cusp of revolution wherein all kinds of plastic culture needs to be abandoned if we wish to inhabit this planet any further. People like Manveer bring this conscience into art from where these conversations can begin. Especially as such a large country, our plastic waste is just as huge – we need to reflect on these practices and like Manveer, see how an individual is capable of magnanimous actions such as this. 

Plasticvalla is a name that was derived from our cultural association of one’s occupation with their name. Although that concept is also deeply rooted in the concept of caste, Manveer adopted this name from the residents of the neighbourhood where he collects ‘hard to recycle’ plastic. After a long-drawn process of this collection in the Habit Changer Boxes and cleaning each of the pieces, Manveer begins to put them together for his sculptures and installations. With every piece that he creates, he hopes for his medium to define his work and his identity as an artist. This medium is not simply a representation of the climate crisis caused due to the ignorant dumping of plastics but at the same time, it is all the plastic that Manveer is saving from going to the large dump yards.

‘Banjar’ is a similar piece which calls at the large mound at Ghazipur also infamously known as ‘Ghazipur Hill’ owing to its magnanimous size.

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