Finding gold in bottles

Megha Mendon, a 23-year-old Mangaluru-based architecture graduate from the Srinivas School of Architecture, was horrified to find an empty ground in her society strewn with bottles. But instead of merely complaining about the situation, she decided to transform it by tapping into the artist inside her. Joining the tribe that’s making wealth out of waste, the 23-year-old began giving the bottles a makeover.

“My home is close to an empty ground that is a site for parties. People conduct functions there and carelessly throw the bottles there. Of course, people in the society form various groups to clean up the place. But after a few days, it’s back to square one. I wondered if I could give these discarded bottles an innovative twist, perhaps turn them to art. So I began collecting a few bottles and started drawing on them, and began gifting those to friends and relatives,” says Megha on how she got started.

The art of the matter: Megha’s work soon caught the eye of environmentalist Dinesh Holla and he began encouraging her, who got even deeper into the project.

As of now, Megha has experimented on three types of bottle makeovers-bottles with lights, without lights and the embossed ones. For the first category, Megha transforms the bottles into by using LED bulbs organised by her friend Akshay Puthran inside. “In the embossed one, I used tissue paper and thread to create a sense of a dimension,” adds Megha.

Showcasing a culture: Incidentally, Megha has been using her bottle art to promote the culture of Mangaluru. “Through the bottles, I have tried to showcase the cultural and spiritual activities of Mangaluru, for instance, the Yakshagana, Bhuta Kola, etc.,” shares Megha who has exhibited a few of her bottles on Kadri Rocks in January this year.

In addition, Megha recently conducted a five-day do-it-yourself workshop around transforming waste bottles. “The workshop was conducted by the riverside and had over 28 people across all ages. The aim of the workshop was to try and get people to make use of empty bottles around their vicinity to create something beautiful,” says Megha, adding that they were able to recycle over 900 bottles including her collection. Even as she is on the lookout for a job, the 23-year-old hopes to conduct more such workshops in the future.

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