India shared a major installation work at the inaugural London Design Biennale this past month, called Chakraview. SheThePeople.TV speaks to India Design Forum Founder Rajshree Pathy on why it’s such a big deal for India to be part of this major international event, and what it means for the Pathy founded India Design Forum. Also don’t miss her list of five Indian artists to watch out for!
1. What would you say has been moment-changing about the London Design Biennale?
To start with, I would say it was the theme of LDB, ‘Utopia by Design’. Inspired by the 500-year anniversary of Sir Thomas More’s fictional classic, ‘Utopia’, the installations touched on contemporary hot-topics ranging from sustainability and urban planning to migration and digital culture. The inaugural edition of the Biennale showcased newly commissioned works and installations by leading designers, architects, artists, thinkers and institutions, representing 37 nations from six continents. LDB director Christopher Turner set the tone by stressing that the programme would tackle the most pressing problems of the day by bringing together international designers to imagine “our future world” in the spirit of Utopia.
2. With this new milestone, how would you assess your design journey?
This is the very first time that India has been officially represented at a global event of this nature. This is a definite milestone for India Design Forum (IDF) and I believe that change can only happen through government intervention and formulation of new policies. Private sector can only be the enablers.
3. Five new artists in India you would watch out for?
Spandana Gopal of Tiipoi, Kavitha Chandran of Urmi Weaves, Shilpa Chavan of Little Shilpa, Gautam Sinha of Nappa Dori and Sangaru Design are the ones to watch out for.
4. The thought and philosophy around the IDF’s Chakraview and the kind of response it got…
Chakraview traces India’s cultural, social and economic progress since the 1958 India Design report written by Charles and Ray Eames, commissioned by Pandit Nehru which formed the blueprint for setting up the National Institute of Design. We used the 7 chakras as a metaphor to show the progress from a craft-based design country to a technologically advanced nation which successfully launched the Mangalyaan Mars mission with indigenous innovation. The diversity of the country is represented by the thousands of circular multi-lingual fonts reproduced on fabrics by artist Hanif Qureshi. An 8-minute AV traces the progression from the earthenware ‘lota’ to the Mangalyaan Mars mission – all showing India’s creativity. The walls of the space echo with the voices and inspiring quotes from Pupul Jayakar, (Mahatma) Gandhi, (Jawahar Lal) Nehru, anonymous craftsmen, philosophers and scientists.
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