What makes India unique is the amalgamation of all diversities in one country. We have rich traditions, different staples for each culture, and diverse arts and cultures. This diversity brings us all together.
Be it fabrics, dance, paintings, or sculptures, every culture has a unique specialty of its own. To celebrate this range, two young women, from Uttarakhand, came together. Fashion designer Tanya Kotnala and nutritionist Tanya Singh showcased rural traditional culture with a contemporary twist.
Bhuli is Uttarakhand’s local dialect means little sister. Bhuli Art is contemporary art that was founded by a duo hailing from Uttarakhand. These vivid illustrations by Kotnala and Singh are a way of documenting rural aesthetics. They illustrate the arts, culture, and nutrition of their homeland. Bhuli Art is a celebration of the countryside lifestyle, grandma’s recipes, and traditional outfits.
Their aim is to revive the aesthetics of India’s cottage industry through art and design. But they also raise awareness through the art about social issues. Their art talks about rural women facing issues such as menstrual hygiene and maternal health.
In a conversation with Platform Magazine, designer Tanya Kotnala said, “When I started working in remote areas of India and realized that most of the population is illiterate, it was then that I realized the importance of art forms and the difference it can make in the learning levels of masses. So over time, I started developing IEC (Information, Education, and Communication) material for the Government on different health and for nutrition-based topics I made it a point to use plenty of infographics and minimum text.”
The visual language of this style of art can be described as “Tim Burton meets Madhubala”. The minimalist yet beautiful illustration with big bright eyes reminds you of many Tim Burton movies such as Corpse Bride. And the vibrant and vivid colors, with traditional aesthetics incorporated on jewellery and makeup… reminds you of the Golden Era of Bollywood.
Bhuli’s collaboration with the Government
The duo has also collaborated with the Indian Government. T for the project about ‘Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign”. This was where a poster designed by Bhuli was displayed around 19,000 Aganwadis in Uttarakhand.
A recent project that they collaborated on was regarding awareness of childhood nutrition. The project focused on the subject of the ‘Importance of the first 1000 days’ of children.
Their main aim in these collaborations is to make Aganwadis more attractive to children. So, each month they go and paint one Aganwadi centre situated in Uttarakhand.
Bhuli’s Illustrated Project Works
The two primary and recent projects that the duo illustrated were the 2019 calenders and Space Bhuli.
The project of yearly calendars focused on celebrating the essence of India’s cultural diversity. In 2019 Calendar, it illustrated the traditional outfits and costumes. But the outfits were for each cultural group around India drapes. Whereas the 2020 Calendar vividly illustrated the fairs and festivals around India.
Another project that the duo hand-drew was Space Bhuli. Space Bhuli was a project that mainly aimed for spreading awareness. It talked about the social stigma that women from rural India faced and environmental issues. It showcased many topics such as Anemia awareness, the Right to Education, Triple Talaq, the Chipko Movement, and the extinction of Himalayan Quail.
They have made these illustrations available to all. You can get it through sets of frames and calenders at their store.
Bhuli’s Social Awareness through Social Media
The duo, Kotnala, and Singh run a Nutrition series on their Instagram handle. The series aims to educate and inform the people, rural or urban. They illustrate and talk about food choices, proper eating, and physical activity habits. They try to encourage people of using local produce. They have showcased this by sharing the local cuisines of Uttarakhand.
The long-term goal of this duo is to minimize the effects of Palayan in rural areas. The organization collaborates with the Government to spread more awareness. They amplify awareness about the issues in the rural Pahadi region. The store gives them the financial backing they need to continue with the project.
Bhuli Art is a way of reviving the Swadeshi culture through sustainable and straightforward designs. Contributing through these illustrations, Bhuli Art believes in creating a significant impact on the social good of Pahadis.