> Sameer Kulavoor

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A Man of the Crowd

15 March 2018

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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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