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A Man of the Crowd

15 March 2018

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EVERYDAY- Launch weekend

10 January 2020

Everyday is a series of zines that broadly looks at ‘everyday’ from different perspectives. In an effort to explore new formats of art books and storytelling, each volume is an experiment created using images and words by one artist & one writer. The project is conceptualised and designed by typographer and designer Zeenat Kulavoor, curated and edited by artist Sameer Kulavoor and writer Phalguni Desai. For each issue we invite an artist to visualise their idea of ‘everyday’, and then bring

in a writer to shake things up in an attempt to understand how words – as poems, narratives, listicles and other informal writing – could spark a deeper understanding of our urban spaces and their impact on how we live.

The first two issues feature artists Madhav Nair (instagram/deadtheduck) and Anand RK (instagram/an_anandrk) with writers Phalguni Desai and Rachel Lopez respectively. Madhav and Phalguni look at urban horror – the kind that spirals out of routine, dullness and trying to make it work as individuals in large unempathetic cities, while Anand and Rachel contemplate how we consume and what we discard
as we move onward and upward into our high-rise tower lives.

Project Collaborator: Bombay Duck Designs
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The Shifting City

05 April 2019

The Shifting City was an exhibition curated by Kaiwan Mehta, in collaboration with the Architecture Foundation India, and Rahul Mehrotra as project advisor.

In late 2018 – early 2019 I worked on a piece called ‘Cafe’ which Kaiwan Mehta saw and found to be relevant with the theme of this show he was curating. For my segment we decided to look at the idea of ‘arrival city’ in the context of 1) the people working for the film and entertainment industry(actors, writers, comedians, musicians, etc) who spend a lot of time in cafes around Versova, Juhu and Bandra 2) those who work in the IT industry around the Goregaon Malad (Link road stretch in the west and the highway in the east) and end up frequenting the malls (Oberoi Mall/ Infinity Mall) around that area. How do we manoeuvre ourselves through these spaces? What kind of interactions do we have on a daily basis? Are Cafes, foodcourts, co-working spaces really about community or are they the refuge of the lonely? Or like Kaiwan asks ‘Are malls the new public spaces?’ Through the following works I delve into these questions.

Project Collaborator: Goethe Institut – Max Mueller Bhavan Mumbai with the Architecture Foundation
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Social Media Friendly Plants / St+Art India

10 March 2019

Algorithms are ‘a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer’. In the 21st century, algorithms are the basis of social media and its influence can be seen on the way we live at a micro and macro level. They seem to have control over the human psyche – how we feel, what we think, what we eat, where we live, how we live, who we make love with, how our surroundings look like. Algorithms are said to have allegedly influenced international politics and the rise of right-wing thinking. Trollers and influencers are legit professions.

Over the last few years certain plants seem to have gained popularity on social media and as a result one can spot them everywhere – in cafes, at homes, offices, indoor/outdoor parks, in selfies. These low maintenance pretty-pinterest-plants are like fast fashion, extremely social media friendly and can help you, in social media marketing language, ‘garner a few hundred likes’ easily. The mural is about this observation.

Project Collaborator: St+Art India and team of volunteers – Nayantara, Arif, Mrinmayee, Samriddha
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Zeroxwallah zine

06 July 2018

Zeroxwallah zine is a visual errand, reminiscing the numerous visits to the zeroxwallah’s (copy-shops) in Fort (Mumbai). Its distinct yellow-black visual paraphernalia roped in with the indigenous fragments of the city of Mumbai gives it the status of a distinctive culture in itself. Be it the smell,the ink or the feel of the zeroxed paper, this exceedingly spontaneous, fanzine bids to stimulate all the senses in a way that a physical encounter of entering a ‘zerox ki dukaan’ (copy-shop in Mumbai)’ would. The method of production of the zine bears a similitude to the content with the intention of providing a hands-on feel.

Project Collaborator: Bombay Duck Designs
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Parfum Sassoon / St+Art India

20 November 2017

St+Art Mumbai 2017 was held at the historic Sassoon Docks in Mumbai. The first thing that hits you as you enter the fishing dock is the smell/stench of the area. I packaged this distinct feature of Sassoon Dock as an imaginary premium perfume brand called Parfum Sassoon and fabricated an experience of being in a showroom that displays and sells the exclusive product. The showroom included two larger than life display boxes and a brand mural. Also designed single colour screen printed packaging boxes of Parfum Sassoon (2 fragrances) with some ‘important fine text’. The boxes were takeaways for the audience.

Support Team: Zeenat, Ashutosh, Nargis, Dnyanesh, Tanaya, Ravi and St+Art team


Project Collaborator: St+Art India Foundation
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20 November 2015

When LOKAL Helsinki invited me to be a part of the India exhibit themed ‘Faith’, I chose to draw these day-to-day scenes which may seem very mundane. But each of these fifteen drawings touch upon details that reflect the sentiment of undying that faith we have in ourselves.

Globalisation began after the government introduced reforms in the early nineties in India, and there was a sudden boom all over – not just in Mumbai. The landscape changed rapidly, almost overnight. These changes created a lot of visual contrast and chaos.

Today, you’ll find an European automobile showroom next to a slum. You’ll see handpainted signages of the local barber next to fancy back-lit printed signboards of an international clothing brand outlet. You’ll find affluent people stopping by a roadside chai-wallah for a glass of tea… or for a smoke around the corner.. women creating quilts on the footpath out of used sarees.. an overloaded hand-cart being pulled by men.. old dilapidated architecture next to sprawling Tech Parks.. There’s so much going on around us all the time. Some would wonder how Mumbai(/India) still works despite all the chaos and contrast. I personally feel that it is all a matter of FAITH. We believe everything will be OK. We are resilient and we are optimistic.

Project Collaborator: LOKAL Helsinki
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15 July 2014

BLUED is an illustrated documentation of the use of Taad-Patri, as we call it colloquially in India. The blues of a tarpaulin is a common sight in urban metros. Blue Tarp is comparatively inexpensive and typically used as a creative jugaad solution due to the strength and convenience of the material. It is commonly seen at the street-side makeshift shops as a base to display their wares and keep them safe from the dirt on the roads. It is also used for waterproofing and windproofing and thus can be seen covering the houses of the poor and the rich. During monsoon, the city often seems like a sea of cobalt blue due to the excessive use of Tarps. Additionally, it makes for excellent sun-proofing, dust-proofing, pigeon-shit proofing, packaging, and temporary refugee camps.

Project Collaborator: Bombay Duck Designs
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The Ghoda Cycle Project

01 July 2012

‘The Ghoda Cycle Project’ is a visual document of the myriad avatars of bicycles in the rural and urban landscape of India. The linchpin of ‘The Ghoda Cycle Project’ is to lay emphasis on the framework, structure, decoration and design of the cycles of India.

Ergonomically these cycles may not be the best examples of bicycle design, but they have the strength to carry the hopes and aspirations of a big section of the Indian population. No wonder they are called ghoda (stallion) cycles. Basic necessities like cooking gas, milk, bread, newspapers and tiffin are delivered to our homes on a cycle. And then there are the mobile cycle shops that sell, among other things, tea, vegetables, waist-belts, ice-creams and SIM-cards! Its a display not only of sustainable living but also how a section of the society in India make a livelihood out of it. With customization, adornments, embellishments and a bit of jugaad these cycles start developing their own unique personality, reflecting the occupation and background of the rider. And also collectively adds life and charm to the streets of India, where more than 20,000 cycles are manufactured everyday. The poster-book is a collection of my observations and drawings of these omnipresent cycles of India.

This collaboration wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Chalo India!, Keskula Network and Pelago Bicycles.

Project Collaborator: The Ghoda Cycle Project was exhibited at the Bicycle Film Festival, July 2012, Helsinki as part of World Design Capital Helsinki (WDC-H).
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  • The Shifting City

    An ongoing exhibition highlights how the city of Mumbai is a place that marks one's arrival, of one's hopes of 'making it', and the geographies of ‘arrival’ which are established through a range of particular spatial narratives.

    01 May 2019
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  • Attend a guided tour of this exhibition _The Shifitng City

    Curated by KAiwan Mehta, The Shifting City is an exhibition which is a part of a project called Making Heimat, Germany, Arrival Country. This was the main theme of the german pavilion at the 15th International Exhibition 2016. The Mumbai Pavilion features new works specially designed for the show by visual artist and designer, Sameer Kulavoor.

    Mumbai Mirror
    18 Apr 2019
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  • Visual Notes, Lonely Crowds

    Sameer Kulavoor has been a keen observer of urban subjectivity and the details of human actions that occupy and populate urban spaces and crowds His sharp visual notes in the form of drawings and paintings not only capture in every frame very specific moments in a city's life, but also hint at the endless possibilities of such individual actions in shared spaces. The 'man in the crowd' with her/his peculiarities is a commentary on life in the city, civic imaginations, the sensibility of a certain ‘strangerliness’ and familiarity that shapes city-living.

    06 Feb 2019
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  • Camden Kala_Love Camden

    Sameer Kulavoor gave me a private tour of his third solo exhibition at TARQ, A Man of the Crowd. This exhibition was a series of paintings and sculptures that reflected on everyday life in Mumbai, focusing on snippets of life he had seen, all brought together to form abstract scenes in a non-descript metropolis focusing on the people and their actions. His chosen viewpoint is one of an observer, looking down upon a concrete square filled with people from all walks of life, not involved in each other’s routine, rather alone in their actions, and brought together in this imagined place

    Camden Kala
    07 Aug 2018
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  • Domus | A Man of the crowd

    In a recent exhibition, graphic designer and artist Sameer Kulavoor brings to life the flat grey surface of the canvas with faceless human figures in vibrant, eye-catching hues. These are ubiquitous, often mundane characters one comes across in everyday life, yet appear to have fascinating narratives about them.

    08 Jun 2018
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  • A metropolis of many narratives

    At first glance, the sands of Mumbai’s Chowpatty Beach on a summer evening appear to be the large canvas. A man clad in a vest and lungi strides into the frame. Three women in casually draped saris are deep in animated conversation. A boy plays cricket with a cardboard carton for wickets. The wind carries with it sheets of paper gone rogue.

    The Hindu
    29 Apr 2018
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  • CQ Interviews: Sameer Kulavoor’s “A Man of the Crowd” spotlights the heart of a city – its people

    It is easy to get lost in the exhibition “A Man of the Crowd” by Sameer Kulavoor. His produced world has done away with architecture, signals or landmarks while prioritising everyday people. Each character seems familiar and expresses a sense of motion almost like they have a destination in mind. The more you look the more you see with this series.

    Colour Quotient, Asian Paints
    25 Apr 2018
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  • Pieces of an everyday puzzle

    What characterises a metropolis? Is it the burgeoning skyline that’s looming over us everyday, the red traffic signals that are going unnoticed? Or is it the movement of the throngs, navigating themselves through spaces in unison. What’s binding them all, in a day packed with different agendas.

    The Hindu
    06 Apr 2018
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  • Sameer Kulavoor’s Latest Exhibition Explores The Many Faces Of Urban Life

    Every person has a story and in a city like Mumbai there are millions of tales, some waiting to be read out loud and others are hidden away behind coy smiles and dramatic eyes. Sometimes when words fail, art stands up, paving the way for emotions and experiences that words could never do justice too. Giving life to grey canvases with faceless human figures rendered in fluorescent hues, ‘The Man of the Crowd’ celebrates cities and its layered identities with a fascinating tale to tell.

    26 Mar 2018
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  • What You Get With Sameer Kulavoor’s Paintings

    In his debut solo exhibition of paintings, Sameer Kulavoor stays true to his concerns as he people-watches Mumbai

    25 Mar 2018
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  • Artist Sameer Kulavoor’s Mumbai exhibition celebrates the chaos of urban living

    2017 was a busy year for visual artist and illustrator Sameer Kulavoor. He travelled across India and to cities like Copenhagen, Berlin, Bangkok, Stockholm, New York, Hanoi, Las Vegas and Ho Chi Minh. He carried along his travel journal where he made sketches and recorded observations. “Every metropolis feels familiar in some ways because we are trained to deal with it — similar problems, similar multiplicity, similar juxtapositions of contrasting elements, people and scale,” recalls Kulavoor.

    The Hindustan Times
    24 Mar 2018
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  • City tales

    Tons of thousands of people go about the daily rigmarole of their lives in the bustling metropolis of Mumbai. Each of them carries a unique story within them and is striving to win his or her battles. This forms the basis of graphic designer, illustrator and artist Sameer Kulavoor’s solo exhibition, A Man of the Crowd, which is currently on display at TARQ, an art gallery in Colaba.​.

    24 Mar 2018
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  • “A Man of the Crowd”: Indian graphic artist Sameer Kulavoor – in conversation

    The Indian artist brings together art and design to present his unique observations of both the urban spaces that he is familiar with in Mumbai and the characters that inhabit them.

    Art Radar
    22 Apr 2018
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  • Minimalist, whimsical: Meet Sameer Kulavoor, the artist

    Sameer Kulavoor, Mumbai-based graphic designer, illustrator and founder of Bombay Duck Designs, is known for his minimalist style and whimsical illustrations.

    Hindustan Times
    19 Mar 2018
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  • A Man Of The Crowd — Sameer Kulavoor

    A Man of the Crowd, artist and designer Sameer Kulavoor’s first solo exhibition at TARQ Gallery, of original paintings and sculptures, opened this March. We explored the landscapes and characters with Sameer, who indulged us in an in-depth interview about the series

    Design Fabric
    15 Mar 2018
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  • TARQ hosts Sameer Kulavoor’s exhibition, A Man of the Crowd

    Sameer Kulavoor, founder of Bombay Duck Designs, brings his contemplations on what characterises ‘the urban’ to a new exhibition, A Man of the Crowd, which opens March 15 at TARQ art gallery, Mumbai. The title is inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, The Man of the Crowd, and much like Poe’s unnamed narrator who observes the urban throng, Kulavoor renders his subjects with just that touch of lightness against the backdrop of the big city in literal and metaphoric shades of grey.

    Architectural Digest
    14 Mar 2018
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  • Exhibition: Sameer Kulavoor’s ‘A Man of the Crowd

    “At first my observations took an abstract and generalizing turn. I looked at the passengers in masses, and thought of them in their aggregate relations. Soon, however, I descended to details, and regarded with minute interest the innumerable varieties of figure, dress, air, gait, visage, and expression of countenance.” – says the narrator in the short story ‘The Man of the Crowd’ by Edgar Allan Poe while observing people in the city of London.

    The Floating Magazine
    08 Mar 2018
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  • AD magazine: Sneak Previews

    Sameer Kulavoor's reflections of every day street-life often focus on the otherwise invisible classes- fruit sellers, scavengers, hawkers. For 2020, Kulavoor will design IAF's facadem which will cover three exhibition tents. "Titled This is Not a Still Life, it will be India's biggest commissioned canvas yet," says fair director, Jagdip Jagpal.

    Architectural Digest
    14 Jan 2020
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  • The National. India’s street life pulsates with colour in Sameer Kulavoor’s paintings

    The artist highlights the human stories in his home city of Mumbai Pulsating with colour and character, the works of Sameer Kulavoor focus on the heart of street life: people. Whether it is a portrait of a vendor selling neon plastic baskets or paintings with an eagle-eye view of a bustling crowd, the artist from Mumbai captures the mood and movement of urban life in India. Kulavoor had his start in graphic design around the period of the dot-com bubble. At the time, he produced motion graphics for web firms before deciding to attend the Sir JJ School of Art to pursue his own artistic practice. Since then his creations have taken on various forms, from illustrations and zines to murals and paintings. His latest series of paintings This Is Not A Still Life was chosen as the facade design for the most recent India Art Fair in Delhi, which ended on Sunday, February 2, and covered the tents that housed the gallery booths. In these works, Kulavoor depicts the relationship between people, infrastructure and everyday objects, playing with scale and luminescent neon colours.  

    The National
    04 Feb 2020
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