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A Bollywood Pilgrimage Tale
During this year where a lot of us were under a severe lockdown, I invested a lot of time exploring a subject related to two of my passions: Bollywood movies and spirituality (both in the Indian context).
In India, both religion and cinema are united by a multi-dimensional relationship: scenography that immerses and delights its cult audience, gods and heroes that the audience admires and worships, and a spiritual experience that goes beyond the performance. In this illustration I explore the parallelism of these factors.
Religions, Hinduism in particular, are very ritual oriented. Those rituals are performed to appease the spirits, avert calamity, and to set benevolent forces into action. They always include a pronounced element of theatricality. The Indian audience is not interested in what happens in average daily life and they do not expect realism when watching Bollywood movies, but wish to be entertained and presented a way of escaping their daily life. Contrary to other nations, that particular audience is not seeking hyperrealist CGI, but that theatricality historically present in their religious rituals.
Beyond their initial inspiration in religious themes, there is also a ritualistic vibe and worship surrounding Bollywood movies: the experience itself could be compared to one of a pilgrimage in some respects. Just as pilgrims see distance and sacrifice as a means to an end and achievement of something, the moviegoer´s journey is not solely fulfilled by the movie and characters themselves, but also by surrounding rituals and family bonding.
In this illustration I also explore the architectural aspects of Bollywood related culture—artefacts designed and built with the only purpose to be used in specific rituals, as well as the ephemeral shrines and giant deities used for festivals. These elaborate constructions have a romantic or melancholic feeling surrounding them, as they only exist for a limited period of time, and with a specific purpose, before disappearing for ever.
In addition, I designed abundant architectural elements for the viewers to experience a meditative journey leading them to understand the ultimate show.
The research proposal expressed here has its origin in a personal interest and passion related to India and its decorative arts culture.
Few countries have so consistently celebrated and practiced decorative arts, and the embellishment and ornamentation of the surface as India. I strongly believe that decoration nourishes and ennobles us, providing physical, mental and aesthetic stimulation in a way that is inestimable.
Through my work, highly inspired by these, I intend to express an interest in an anthropological phenomena that is taking place nowadays, and that is still under explored.
The architectural language is fundamental in my work, as it allows me to give life to fictional worlds through the use of realistic graphic codes. It represents the intersection of fiction and reality.
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