Performing arts of embodied refusal amid anthropogenic climate change: the Salim Ali Biodiversity Park and Bird Sanctuary, Pune, India
Birds twitter, flap their wings or wade in the gurgling water of the Mula-Mutha river in a special place, named after Salim Ali, the world famous, award-winning ornithologist and ‘Birdman of India’ (1896–1987). Yet, bird habitat, migratory routes, species diversity and songs are affected by the slow violence of global warming and environmental pollution. Urban citizens or Punekars including artists, women, children and ornithologists refuse the brutality of this slow violence by enacting forms of activism that centre birdlife and affirm thriving more-than-human worlds. This co-authored piece focuses on the embodied performances of refusal at the Salim Ali Biodiversity Park and Bird Sanctuary, Pune, a rapidly growing city in the western state of Maharashtra, India. Activism takes the form of poetry, city walks, participatory mural art and other forms of resistance by the Save Salim Ali Sanctuary Action Group (SSASAG). Our co-authorship collective consists of an activist/ornithologist of the SSASAG, an internationally acclaimed mural artist, and an Australian geographer of Indian heritage who went on daily ‘nature walks’ while visiting family in Pune. We craft this piece as a continuation of our activist refusals of anthropogenic climate change and toxic environmental pollution, and to illuminate solidarity with the brilliance of human and more-than-human worlds in and beyond Pune.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Michele Lobo, Abha Bhagwat, Dharmaraj Patil
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