Guest Blog Posts

The necessity to reengage nature and ecosystems in art —— guest blog post by Harshal Desai

The most intense and individual movement of expression is the establishment of art. It was born with all living beings as soon as they were. I am drawn in by the communal harmony that art brings forth and binds. This dualism does not split the discourse - rather, it unites both; the individual and the larger community. The Greek philosopher Aristotle, in his theory of mimesis expressed that while all art is imitation, not all imitation is art. The media that forms the clay of creation is an indispensable element of art.
harshalI seek to establish a relationship between nature and art and bring center stage the idea that in the era we straddle, it is more important than ever to juxtapose the two to trace and make meaning of the world around us. I will illustrate from upon certain experiences that have bound me to acquiring a sense of selfhood and those of universes.
I am often enamored and plagued with questions about identity and pertinently pursue the question "Who am I?" There is a restless wave of innate soliloquy like structures that beat relentless upon the shore of a human mind. In such a situation, nature becomes a source of deep wisdom and reckoning to voyage through life.
Majestic thunderstormI have spent many-a-night looking outside my window, soaking in the cold from the balcony, softly feeling it seep my toenails and feel alive. These sensory hints soak the self into a realm of what it means to be alive, to belong, feel life for what it is and then fold it away. Multitudes of hues within the sun during sunrise and sundown have held me captive in their blazes. A particular tryst I had with Singapore skies during midnight brought me closer to nature and its occurrences. To put in perspective, the sky was set on fire with a heightened shade of purple and strokes of lightning glazed it as though to testify that nothing was ours, yet everything in this moment belonged to us. We are an extension of nature, as nature is an extension of who we are.
Nature is neither to be looked upon with awe nor to be feared. The wild shrubs, flowers and creatures that glide beneath the ground, over spaces upon the ether and between are all an extension of us, as they bustle with life. I have walked many midnights over the land separating sea from concrete roads, drenched with the thoughts of immensity. Herman Melville, in Moby Dick remarked, "A whale-ship was my Yale College and my Harvard." While formal education might help sustain a career and livelihood, nature aids living and the purpose of life itself.
I have been engaging with the discourses of photography and poetry (much for alliteration) ere long now. Ever since memory nudges testimony to remembrance, I have understood and felt the embers of natural surroundings within encompasses of selfhood. The term 'oikeios' means family, my kith and kin to I. Nature and man have been pitted against each other since several decades. It is imperative to blur lines between these two and eradicate any opposing binaries that might pervade due to conditioning.

Nat Geo Magazine: Life in Color

Nat Geo Magazine: Life in Color

A green snake that I once captured on lens in Singapore remains longstanding in memory. The snake was coiled upon a green leaf, stilly. This idea of being still remains vital in understanding how nature operates. A spatial expanse of green and every hue, as varied as from the other, was in peace with their differentiations. It would be a productive exercise for us to take a leaf from nature about celebrating differences of color, race, ethnicity, et cetera. The human ideas of timekeeping, note-taking, monetary exchange that often seems to complicate the ethos of life does not exist in nature. Everything is free - resources are available to all, and every figment of life peacefully co-exists.
I chart a similar path in progressing toward poetry. It comes through observation, empathy and a naturalized sense for feeling. Not all poetry is inspired by the same source, though the need for it comes from the fact that we are human, we feel and we need to belong. A few people that have recorded their experiences on earth leave a rich legacy to learn from. For me, I trace poetry from deeper inner recesses. It is the resource of holding on to words, worlds and stratospheres in making sense of one's own thoughts and observations. Poetry is organic, an embodiment of dissent in nature. It seeks to un-normalize the things human beings tend to take for granted. It is commonplace, material and everything existence brings along.
In the same breath of engaging with poetics, the idea of a full moon, and I do not mean to romanticize nature though simply stated, it holds much in its transcendental realm. Shades of white over the circumference over the lunar with gray, musky clouds lurk over valleys of beyond. The sensitivity that nature instills is like distilled breaths over the repertoire of life.
In a century rife with war and global politics changing and shifting the world order, the need necessitates itself for a reimagining of our own literatures. Nature is meditation in its highest form. With deforestation, increasing levels of pollution, commercialization and rapid desensitization emanates the need to remain still.
Nature is the source of wisdom. When knowledge knocks on the door, wisdom answers it. With logic comes intuition, and it is true when reversed. The source of rivers, its tributaries, planets, constellations, shimmering stars, wild winds and the breaths of nature closely whisper in our ears at all times and we hear its reverberations when we listen to the silences closely.

Do you have something say about poetry? An essay on being a poet, tips for poets, or poetry you love? is now accepting pitches for guest blog posts. 

Contact me here if you are interested! 

020517-harshal-bio_photoHarshal Desai believes in silences, moss clad rocks, soliloquies of stars and scents of blank pages. He feels close the Latin ‘Tabula Rasa’ and seeks to remold worlds into as much as they can stretch and shrink. Innately anthropomorphic, nature is a vast source of inspiration for him. On a typical day, you can find him by the seashore, and other natural spaces, in the captivating essence of the oikeios.  Professionally, a scholarship awardee from Raffles College of Higher Education, Singapore, he holds a Masters degree in design. He understands the intricacies that design and art bring and finds much inspiration in creating sustainable solutions for the world. He also believes in the mythologies of comic books, hieroglyphs and transcendence. He’d be glad to read your letters on

3 replies »

  1. Lovely! Revel in the glory. You reminded me of the ancient times when nature was more valued than materials. It struck such a deep chord.

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