Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dharohar Continued

When a corporate turns 40 and has a legacy of its own it talks about the legacy of its soil at the turn of a new decade. A calendar design that was in process at DesignMembrane for the Kalpataru group is out now and we have received our copies to share in this space.

After a few rounds of theme presentations there was also a request from the client's end to develop and present on the theme of kings from different dynasties that ruled India in the past. We suggested a slight twist to it, listing down several dynasties from the first in the Vedic era to the era of post independence and seeking a derivative from each one. We knew each period would have some relevance in the present. For example, the Indian emblem came from the Mauryan times of Ashoka's pillar at Sarnath.

We called it "Dharohar", a sanskrit word that translates as "legacy".

Research was difficult initially. Our studio turned into a boring history class but with little chance of bunking it. But soon we were engrossed. It was not just about presenting the facts as is but somehow relating these with what we see around us today which is what made it interesting after all.

Soon ready with a moodboard for each month with all facts lined up with relevant images, a rough cut for the basic look and feel was also presented for the first three months so that the basic benchmark was set.

After loads of brain rattling, swapping one dynasty for another and eliminating a few, our basic theme and flow was set for the calendar (not necessarily in that order!). Our approach was a combination of pictures with illustration and we were also keen to later experiment with printing techniques but that was for later.

These dynasties with their respective legacies made it to the final cut...
*Mauryan legacy : Lion pillar-Emblem of India and the message of peace
*Cholas, Cheras and Pandyas' legacy : Dravidian architecture and a bureaucratic form of governance
*Satvahana legacy : First coinage
* Kushan legacy : The present form of Buddha
*Gupta legacy : Chess in its ancient form of Chaturanga and the beautiful cave paintings of Ajanta
*Pala legacy : First ever illustrated manuscripts
*Islamic Sultantes' legacy : The beautiful work of inlay from Bidar, Deccani painting
*Mughal legacy : The first rajput-mughal alliance:Jodha-Akbar and the message of love that emperor Shahjahan built for his beloved wife Mumtaz, the beauty of architectural forms and geometric patterns
*Rajputana legacy : Miniature paintings - Kishangarh's Bani Thani
*Maratha legacy : Shivaji's heroic tales and message of swarajya which also became the motivation behind the Indian Independence Movement
*British legacy : The Post, Railways and colonial painting
*Independent India : The spirit of freedom, National insignia - lotus, tiger and peacock

The calendar design breaks the routine perception of India often explored through kistch art forms. The photo-illustrations in a rather graphic manner aim to be both informative and evocative. Here are some pictures of the final print.

Mauryas - Indian Emblem form the Ashokan pillar in thermography to give a seal-like effect

Cholas, Cheras and Pandyas - The zari border in an imitation with screen printed gold motifs

Satvahanas - The symbol of their capital Ujjain, a cross with four circles at the ends screen printed in metallic copper

Kushans - The folds of the buddha sculpture can be felt with raised UV

Guptas - The pieces of the board game in foil

Palas - The stone wall in the background has a rough textured UV

Islamic Sultanantes - The Bidri metalware imitated with silver silk screen and foil stamping

Mughals - The emperors and their empresses in a spot UV

Rajputs - The motifs of the odhani replicated in an imitation of the real ones in gold silk screen

British - The imitation seal on the postal stamps in thermography

Independent India - The lighting on the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the motifs that represent the Indian insignia in glitter lamination to enthuse a feeling of celebration

Brilliantly printed and fabricated at Parksons Graphics, Mumbai. At our end, we kept a thumb rule of keeping "the effects" to the minimum and only in the front and not on the back side with the description text so as to not go overboard with it. All printing techniques were carefully selected for a single characteristic, only to add more meaning to the image and enhance the visual perception and sometimes add a dimension of touch, like in the folds of Gautam Buddha in the Dharohar of the Kushans.

Project Closure : Dec 2010


Anonymous said...

Nice dispatch and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Thank you as your information.

nikheel said...

very interesting! good concept and turned out fortunately nice :)