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 DesignsRead More
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 FoundationRead More
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, SamriddhaRead More
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 DesignsRead More
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 FoundationRead More
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 HelsinkiRead More
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 DesignsRead More
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).Read More
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.
Domus01 May 2019
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 Mirror18 Apr 2019
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.
Domus06 Feb 2019
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 Kala07 Aug 2018
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.
Domus08 Jun 2018
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 Hindu29 Apr 2018
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 Paints25 Apr 2018
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 Hindu06 Apr 2018
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.
Homegrown26 Mar 2018
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
Mid-day25 Mar 2018
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 Times24 Mar 2018
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..
DNA24 Mar 2018
“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 Radar22 Apr 2018
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 Times19 Mar 2018
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 Fabric15 Mar 2018
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 Digest14 Mar 2018
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 Magazine08 Mar 2018
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 Digest14 Jan 2020
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 National04 Feb 2020
Sunday Mid-Day- Where to Draw the Line
India's Artists On What They Are Making During The Lockdown
India's established and young artists find themselves turning to their art to make sense of the sorrow around them and renew their promise to co-exist with nature.
Sunday Mid-Day12 Apr 2020
Grazia: Here’s How The Art World Is Coping With The Covid-19 Lockdown
With important events in the annual art calendar, be it exhibitions, art fairs, or open studios of the residencies, getting cancelled, artists and galleries are taking over digital media platforms to showcase their work. Similarly, other art galleries too are resorting to online viewing rooms to showcase their exhibits. For instance, Tarq’s new group show ‘Resurgence’ looks at environmental degradation, healing in both urban and rural spaces, while acknowledging the stillness and uncertainty that surrounds us. Aaditi Joshi, Ronny Sen, and Sameer Kulavoor are part of the nine artists presenting in the show. All artworks in the exhibit are artists’ responses to the current time. Case-in-point: Kulavoor’s ‘Blued’ series, an illustrated documentation of the use of Taad-Patri (tarpaulin sheets). “There is an optimistic tone in his works wherein they focus on how there is a delicate balance between humans and nature. In this show, the sentiment of Jugaad and making the best of a situation resonates with Sameer's work. The blue of a tarpaulin is a common sight in urban metros in India. 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 wind-proofing, 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” mentions the gallery’s Instagram post describing the artist’s work.” adds the gallerist.
Grazia07 May 2020
The Hindu Business Line : Create from Home
Artists around the country are responding with their art to the extraordinary experience of a global lockdown, often without access to their studios or art supplies. The urban milieu with all its complexities interests Mumbai-based artist, illustrator and graphic designer Sameer Kulavoor. In his first solo exhibition, ‘A Man of the crowd’, in 2018, his works capturing city life were teeming with people. In his latest works, the crowds have given way to six black-and-white drawings. Kulavoor has depicted his feelings and encounters during the lockdown. While Lockdown self portrait depicts the artist by the window, looking out longingly, Uncertainty captures the masked face and large expressive eyes of his building society’s watchman, whereas Grocery shows a man looking at the artist suspiciously. The absence of interaction between humans and spaces has also crept into his new works. “I am working out of a friend’s place. Since my studio is in a different location, I can’t go there. It is right beside a mill, where there is constant movement and noise. I miss that. I miss my cab rides, my interactions with people. I miss seeing smiles on people’s faces because everyone is wearing masks. You only see the eyes that reflect concern, anxiety and, at times, suspicion. I am very sensitive to these expressions and these nuances get amplified for me,” says Kulavoor, who also runs a design studio, Bombay Duck Designs. Away from his studio for weeks, as Kulavoor’s supply of art materials and sketchbooks was getting exhausted, he started drawing imaginary portraits, of people he hasn’t seen or met, on empty cigarette packs. “While all these are direct responses to the current situation, I have also done some work that helps me calm down and make sense of what’s happening around me. I have made these flip-books that I do, on post-its, to help me calm down. I find it very meditative,” adds Kulavoor. The works can be viewed on his Instagram handle.
The Hindu Business Line02 May 2020
India Express: Unlocking Art. Part 2
Museums and galleries are closed, but art certainly isn’t. In this edition of ‘Unlock Art’, we have picked virtual fundraisers, exhibitions and sales that are happening in India and abroad. There’s something for everyone here — a tutorial spanning 250 years of art history; exhibition-quality photo prints to get your art collection kickstarted; a homage to the great Indian master, Raja Ravi Varma; and, a sale of affordable works of art. All you need is your phone or laptop and your sense of curiosity. Mumbai-based gallery Tarq’s first online exhibition asks viewers to acknowledge the collective feeling of uncertainty and stillness that we have been catapulted into due to the pandemic. Titled ‘Resurgence’, the exhibition strikes its emphatic note through works by Apnavi Makanji, Aaditi Joshi, Clare Arni, Nibha Sikander, Parag Tandel, Ronny Sen, Sameer Kulavoor, Savia Mahajan, and Soghra Khurasani. Thane-based Tandel draws from his background as a member of the Koli community to create eternal circles of fish in Coast is Clear (2020). Khurasani’s landscape Skin VIII (2018), a woodcut print on paper with deep jewel tones, evokes the intimate connections between human bodies and nature. In Blued 3 (2019), Kulavoor picks the colour of the ubiquitous tarp that springs up in cities during the monsoon to convey the practice of jugaad. In these works and the rest, the exhibition explores the balance between humans and nature, suggesting that uncertain times can also work as a healing interlude.
The Indian Express10 May 2020
Mid-day: Artful salute from Kulavoor
The iconic CEAT Mahal, the Mumbai headquarters of the RPG Enterprises, is being made a canvas for a stunning tribute to the frontline workers with a mural by artist Sameer Kulavoor. They hope to unveil this wall of gratitude today. “Harsh Goenka [chairman of RPG Enterprises] came up with the idea of the tribute. I felt Sameer was the best person to work on this given his expertise with large works like this. This mural is about 120-ft high and serves as a metaphorical wall where squares are drawn as windows to represent the people at their homes. We started work two weeks ago,” design consultant Elsie Nanji told this diarist, while Kulavoor highlighted the safety precautions taken with limited entry to outsiders, strict working conditions and sanitising/disinfecting everything they work with. “Accommodation and food is arranged on site itself for the duration of work so, we are being quarantined through this,” he added.
Mid-day25 May 2020
AD- A visual tribute comes to life on the facade of RPG House, Mumbai, saluting the city’s COVID-19 warriors
This special project for Harsh Goenka is curated by AD100 designer Elsie Nanji and executed by the much-loved artist, Sameer Kulavoor. Designed in 1974 by I.M. Kadri of IMK Architects, RPG House is an iconic structure in the way it seamlessly and subtly celebrates traditional Indian architecture. Last week, a contemporary touch was added to the building—a Wall of Gratitude—curated by AD100 designer Elsie Nanji, and conceived by artist Sameer Kulavoor. An Ode to the Heros: The brief from Harsh Goenka, Chairman of RPG Enterprises, was to create a visual tribute to honour the courage and dedication of the city’s countless COVID-19 warriors. Nanji says, “Sameer extended the brief to include our municipal workers, the police etc. He gave it a local flavour by bringing in the vegetable vendors, and including those who are out on the streets, as well as those who are staying home to keep others safe. Everybody is a warrior in their own way.”
Architectural Digest26 May 2020
Mojarto: #WallofGratitude: Sameer Kulavoor’s fitting tribute
Expressing an overwhelming gratitude for our service providers, medical staff, and other front line workers with eloquence, Sameer Kulavoor’s #WallofGratitude is wonderful gesture. Creating works that evoke the immediate reaction of the artist to his surroundings, Sameer conveys his love for design and social awareness, in an interview:
Mojarto01 Jun 2020
Hindustan Times- Mumbai in the time of coronavirus pandemic
* Dysfunctional by Sameer Kulavoor Ever since Covid-19 restrictions were imposed in March, I have missed seeing and doing things I enjoy in the city. People-watching, cab rides, the normalcy of social interactions at restaurants, cafés, shops, the fast pace of the metropolis – they’re ingredients essential to my art practice… I have felt mostly dysfunctional through the last few months. And I have turned my eye to objects and things at home. I collect different kinds of scissors; they’re very interesting as a functional object and a piece of design. Two parts must work together in order to be of any use — like any good partnership. One thing led to another and I ended up drawing different versions of dysfunctional scissors…
Hindustan Times06 Sep 2020
Domus- Being Public: The pulse of courage and hope
We return with an issue after this period of unfortunate times. The pandemic across the globe has not left any life untouched, if there are lives directly untouched by the virus and its aftermath, there are indirect influences on the ecology and cycle of life that connects all living beings. The month of March and April this year were beyond comprehension and belief for all we know; the stability and confidence in our modern life, medical science, divinity, financial seasons, love and relationships, all received a rude jolt. Life for all of us will never be the same, and we yet do not know what will this change be. Yes, superficially we know what has altered in our lives, but how deep the impact of this pandemic and the lockdown of cities and social lives following it is going to leave deep impacts for all of us, and the depth and violence of this impact will only be visible with time. Time… what can one say about Time?
Domus Magazine19 Oct 2020
StudioELL: Interview with Sameer Kulavoor
"I am expressing things that affect me personally [as] … a way … to deal with what’s going on. I don’t claim to make social commentary but if that’s what it does, one cannot help it. I don’t create work to attack the government, I do it in the spirit of solidarity and empathy.”
StudioELL20 Jul 2020