Thursday, 12:00pm
24 June 2021

Kind of Blued

In this series of pictures, Sameer Kulavoor focuses on an unavoidable element of Indian street life – the blue tarpaulin.
By Marian Bantjes

Sameer Kulavoor is an artist famous in India for his illustrations of everyday life on the street, writes Marian Bantjes.

He has an ability to see his home as outsiders see it; to notice the qualities of Indian life that make it unique. With his sister Zeenat, he runs Bombay Duck Designs in Mumbai, creating a wide variety of commercial work, as well as a number of very precise and beautiful objects and publications for sale. Of these, Blued is one that puts the focus on a ubiquitous object in the Indian human landscape: the blue tarp (known as taad-patri).

Right. Sameer Kulavoor’s Blued publication includes a small tag made of tarpaulin, known in India as taad-patri.
Top. Spread from Blued, 2019.

If you want to make your fortune in India, go into the tarp business. The abundance and variety of usage of them is astonishing. They are on the ground with things on top, over tables, hanging over doorways and windows, wrapping motorcycles and the backs of trucks, covering market stalls, on roofs of the rich and poor.

Spread from Blued by Sameer Kulavoor, 2019.

Sameer captures it all in his loose but detailed line style, drawn in black on off-white paper, with the tarps screen-printed in bright tarp blue. The design is spare, the cover is half-wrapped in blue with a small piece of tarp for a tag. It is utterly compelling as both a design and a social object.

Spread from Blued by Sameer Kulavoor, 2019.

Print by Sameer Kulavoor, 2019.

Print by Sameer Kulavoor, 2019.

Marian Bantjes, illustrator, Canada.

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