A High Level Discussion on the Need to Engage the Worlds of Art, Nature and Science was held at the State House on Tuesday 18 July 2017. “If science, art and Nature are merged, it can result in a better life for our planet,” stated Mrs Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, the President of Republic.
The State House has invited four eminent scientists, namely Dr Ismael Serageldin, Dr Alexandra Henrion Caude, Ehsan Dulloo and Kamlesh Dookayka for this High Level Discussion. H.E, Mrs Ameenah Gurib-Fakim mainly elaborated on how engaging it would be to reconcile science, art and Nature and how these three distinct topic, if merged, can result in a better life for our planet. “We have the great privilege to have here some great minds.” So “Is it art or science or has it always been science and art”. Science and art, has according to her, always overlapped since the Egyptian Pyramids, the great cities of Mohenjo Daro and the ancient civilisation in China. All three disciplines cannot exist without another. “Artists and Scientists have the same open-mindedness and do not fear the unknown. They are both natural partners and leaders.”
She took us back to the Renaissance Era, where the philosophy of art, architecture, engineering and science were exposed to give way to brilliant minds. Leonard Da Vinci the artist of The Vitruvian Man was deeply discussed. “Art is the queen of all sciences, communicating knowledge to all the generations of the world.” His works were subject of deep investigation and still are. Leonard da Vinci was also known to be an observer of visual physiology to create images of human form. Georges Seura invented the pointillism so as to make the future generation understand how colours blend, how complementary colours mixed with other colours like other purple and yellow, green and red orange and blue could result in the creation of blended colours. Artists also gave much insight to the world about medical knowledge. By the middle of 19th century, science and art witnessed the invention of photography. It was technical, artistic and scientific.
In addition, Charles Darwin also realised that he consequently became like a machine while doing science and thinking only into rhetorical terms. He later resolved in reading more poetry and listening to more music. He realised that arts, nature and science were bound to walk hand in hand. Artist and designers are the ones who will bring humanity front and make us care.
Hon Nando Bodha, Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, praised the fact that Mauritius is the symbol of togetherness among cultures and all religions. It is a “Mauritian miracle”. He also said that our island has changed from a monocrop economy to a more modern one. “My dream is that Mauritius is not only the key of the Indian Ocean but also to the world. We could be a star of what could be done in regards of prosperity, growth, inclusiveness.” He proved into words how a deep discussion about art, nature and science with the help of our guests can enlighten its public. He talked about the first image of Jupiter’s Swirling ‘Pearl’ Storm, of the iceberg of Antarctica melting and warned us about climate change to finally refer to “a continent of plastic of one billion tons which shows what modern life has brought to us”. Nando Bodha also admits that we all have some responsibilities to bestow to the future generations. Regarding our planet, scientists and decision makers have a major role to play. “We can have answers from science, nature and arts. The deep reflection of the nature of life, of happiness and the issues of diversity, interaction and imagination at the end of the day should show that we should be happy souls”.
Dr Ismael Serageldin, the founder Director Emeritus, Library of Alexandria, Egypt, discussed how art and nature have helped in developing the evolution of science. He explained how climate change, bio-diversity have affected our Mother Earth and on the extinction of some mammals like polar bears. He also mentioned that the youth constantly viewing the Facebook’s applications are now more alerted about how climate change is affecting the earth. It is easier to communicate with one another and also to share important information. Dr. Ismael also referred to his knowledge mentioning an ancient Egyptian God like Imhotem, God of medicine.
Dr. Alexandra Henrion Caude, Director of Research at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) and Chairperson of the Eisenhower Fellows of France said that even though not all scientists became famous, it is interesting to say that artists are prone to live and know much success. Art, Nature and Science are three different things but yet very much connected. Dr. Alexandra also quoted Albert Einstein: “We still do not know one thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us,” affirming that Art, Nature and Science are indeed connected.
Ehsan Dulloo is a pioneer in International Research career in plant conservation and genetic resources. He has published more than 120 reviewed journal articles, books and conference proceedings. He also worked for Mauritian Wildlife Foundation as Plant Conservation Manager on the World Bank GEF project for the restoration of Ile aux Aigrettes, Round Island and Rodrigues.
Kamlesh Dookayka holds a PhD in Astroparticles Physics from the University of California. Funded by the NASA and NSF, his research work is for the detection of elementary particles from outerspace using instruments in Antartica.
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