Meet Janavi Mahimtura Folmsbee from Mumbai, who paints the beauty of the ocean with her Marine Conservation Art

Hitanshu Bhatt
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marine conservation art

Born in Mumbai, Janavi speaks about the issues of reefs and corals through her marine conservation art, and her craft reflects the slowly dying oceanic world beautifully.


Strongly influenced by marine life, drawing abundant inspiration from her experiences with scuba diving expeditions and with the ocean itself, Folmsbee started this art form after completing her studies in fine arts, about which not many people know. She portrays a strong message to the world and earns a living through her marine conservation art, which she once started out of passion.


Diving Into The World of Art


Janavi Mahimtura Folmsbee was born and raised in Mumbai and left the city when she was 18 to pursue a degree in fine Arts at The School of The Art Institute Of Chicago. Currently, she lives and works in Houston, Texas as an artist and is strongly influenced by marine life. "As an avid diver, I began diving with local and global marine scientists/biologists, and out of personal interest, learning about different marine ecosystems to bring meaning and relevance to my work," said Janavi in conversation with Local Samosa.


Colouring For A Change


While diving at different locations worldwide, Folmsbee noticed a change in reefs and diving sites over time. It made her think about doing something about the depleting marine ecosystem and thus transform her art into something meaningful. She then met various scientists and researchers, gathered more knowledge about the topic, and voiced the problems through her paintings.


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Marine Conservation Art

The Aquarius Art Tunnel at the Houston International Airport


Not only is the message in her paintings distinctive, but so is the style. She has been working with traditional 18th-century oil painting practices and creates her oil and acrylic paint from scratch with customized pigments from all over the world. When asked what inspires her to be different, she replied, "I am an interdisciplinary artist who takes the old and uses it to innovate new techniques."


Work And Accolades


With her paintings, she has won several accolades, including REEF, National India Marine Art Competition, Special mention for Art Award in 2017, and SKY ART Award Recipient, Houston, Texas, in 2018. Janavi has worked with organizations such as G.B.F., Correa Lab, Maar Alliance, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (N.O.A.A), and the Coral Restoration Foundation. She has even interacted with the general public through her official artwork for the 2019 Houston Chevron Marathon, the 2017 Super Bowl, and the FIFA World Cup. 


Marine Conservation Art

Calm Water Color Storm Exhibition in Houston, Texas


Quick 5


1. Your exploration of marine life in India?


My introduction to the swarms of yellow-tail Fusilier Fish was in the Indian Ocean. It’s the colours of the parrot fish, and the clown and blue surgeon fish, along with the white spotted eagle rays on the coast of India, fascinate me.


2. What is best about the marine life of Mumbai?


Mumbai’s green mussels shores, the mud skippers (blennies) in the sun, soldier crabs, orange cratena, and the sea anemone tide pools off Malabar hill.


3. What is it about the marine life you adore the most?


When I first went diving, I was one with my breath invited into a world of pure beauty. I didn’t feel judged and was just allowed to be at peace, and that is what I adore the most.


Marine Conservation Art

One of the paintings from the Marinescapes & Port Holes series


4. Your most recent project?


My latest project is The Aquarius Art Tunnel at the Houston International Airport. I was selected out of 347 artists to create the largest art installation out of the ten art commissions awarded by the City of Houston by the Mayors office of cultural affairs through the Houston Arts Alliance on behalf of The Houston Airport System.


5. What is the future of Marine Conservation Art?


Marine conservation art, however, is a relatively new breed on its own. I feel that any form of activism art is a newer generational understanding and is something we all need today for the betterment of our planet's future.


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