Delhi: One of a kind exhibition for frog lovers in Capital
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) India is holding a unique exhibition of over 400 frog artefacts — the croaking amphibians in different moods and materials — collected by Seema Bhatt, a biologist, climatology expert and graduate of Yale University.
Bhatt has been amassing these for the last 30 years, and from over 40 countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan, Japan, etc., showing how frogs are depicted in popular culture for centuries.
The Delhi-based Fulbright scholar said, “Frogs have always been a part of our folklores, fairy tales, traditions and even proverbs. In ancient Egypt and India, they were associated with monsoon rains, fertility and prosperity. In China, it represents the Yin energy — a mark of good luck — and in Japan, frogs are called kaeru that also means ‘return.’ So travellers would carry a small frog charm for a safe return home.”
“Unfortunately,” she added, “in the race to conserve bigger animals like tigers and elephants, smaller frogs got lost. This is when they form a critical link in the food chain and are natural pest controllers of insects like mosquitoes. They are also excellent indicators of climate change as their skin is extremely sensitive to temperature, moisture and pollution.”
Bhatt said she was always passionate about bird watching, but is not aware when she “fell in love with frogs”. It was during her travels while working with UN she picked up her first frog article in Nairobi in the 1980s.
Many more items became a part of her collection, including a typical frog motif found only in North America painted on a tile; an agate stone frog from Pakistan.
“I have since become the frog collector among family and friends,” she said. The curator of the exhibition, Aditya Arya, said such collections should be put out in public.
“People really enjoy them,” he said.
The exhibition will from January 16 at the WWF India Lodhi Estate office.