T.B: When was the first time you realized you wanted to give full time to this plan?
A.B: During my masters in University of Westminster in London, we had “business for design” in the curriculum. BELOVED INDIA was born out of that. After I came back to India, I worked for 2 years in DK, a publishing company, and side by side prepared the initial products for this plan. Now I am working full time to materialize the goals and have taken the initial plunge.
T.B: Why do you feel there is a need for such platform?
A.B: Indian culture is so diverse in its outlook and depth and the problems in the society are also very vast. With time, the root due to lack of water is drying up and the crust is getting more and more rigid on the surface in the form of rituals. Our very reason for the richness in the culture as a result are turning into our orthodox beliefs holding us back from accepting the modern time gracefully, without fighting with our past.
BELOVED INDIA aims to play that crucial role of bringing out the diverse and ever-evolving, mixing nature of culture. It would go deep to explore the root to make the nutrients available and also make it very much part of the changes and present time.
T.B: Tell us more about your art-work and the responses you have received.
A.B: The first set of products are a series of art-work with spiritual theme. BELOVED INDIA being a very recent start up, I am the employee and employer and hence the only artist and designer for now. I am mainly focusing on the Indian deities and am amazed at the concepts our ancestors have left for us to think, meditate and explore in our lives.
I have participated in group shows and my first solo exhibition would be in Auroville, Pondicherry in December. Despite of taking the unconventional angles to re-look at many deities, I am overwhelmed that the responses are so heartwarmingly positive. I get messages in my inbox with beautiful words on how someone could connect to it and that fills me up with enthusiasm that I am going right.
T.B: How do you want to take your art to the next level?
A.B: As I am working on the series, I am also studying the scriptures. I am reading the Vishnu Puran now in as original and un-edited form as I could find. I have realized that at the very centre of Indian culture is its spirit and philosophy. My next level would only begin when through my art-work I have allowed myself to become the messenger and also taken the initiative to plant the seeds to implement in the society. This is when the commercial side and the social side will unite. The respect that was given to nature, the importance that was given to truth and knowledge, if we can bring back those virtues in our day-to-day life, it will only complement our journey ahead with time.
T.B: What challenges do you face now and what do you need?
A.B: The biggest challenge at this stage is financial of course. I have big, lofty goals and no money to invest.
I am waiting patiently for the commercial side to come to a track first, so that the social side can be started. Till then I will have to collaborate or seek sponsor or work side by side on freelance projects.
T.B: What has been your source of inspiration?
A.B: I love folk art. When I was in my 11th standard, I had done a Madhubani painting workshop with Shanti Devi in which she had awarded me the 1st prize. This painting was later gifted to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. This entire event left a very deep impression in me. I love how real, simple, enchanting and raw this art form is.
I love how imperfect circles and lines also become perfect when they come together. I love the unpretentious, easy and very human touch to this form which makes it so rooted to life and emotions. Ideologically, Swami Vivekanand was my childhood hero and mentor. He was my first guide into Indian spirituality. And Rabindranath Tagore through his songs still guide my life and thoughts everyday.
T.B: What do you do in your free time?
A.B: I had very enthusiastically began to learn Indian Classical Music. I was so fortunate to have even got a scholarship to learn from Ustad Fahimuddin Dagar ji for a month. Now that very unfortunately I don’t do my “riyaz” regularly any more, sometimes I play music and hum alongside to compensate while I work. Besides, my harmonium is always there in my room to play and sing a Rabindra sangeet impulsively sometimes. Else, I love dancing, traveling, reading, writing, eating out and thinking of course.
T.B: If you were not a graphic designer/artist, what profession you wold have chosen?
A.B: Whatever I do, it circles around social work, spirituality or art in any of its forms. If not an artist which means not a singer or a dancer too, then a social activist for sure. An activist working on gender equality, to be precise.
T.B: What are your future plans?
A.B: It has only been 6 months now. I hope BELOVED INDIA finds its financial stability soon, so that I can start the next projects to further extend its path. My future plans involve working in the different stages and structures using design-thinking and problem-solving skills as a designer. I would like to explore the potential of design from creating an art-work to building a product to designing a system into developing a better society and a country for us.
The Interesting Insights Into the Mind Of An Artiste – Aparajita Barai
It is the endeavour of The Uncommon Box to bring to the forefront some of the most talented minds around us. We also like to delve into the mind of the artist to know exactly what helps create that uncommon artistic perspective that intrigues us.
In this quest, we met up with Aparajita Barai, a graphic designer and artist, who is doing some very unusual work in her sphere...
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This Auroville Woman Beautifully Decodes The Meaning Behind Indian Myths Through Art
India is an amalgamation of diverse beliefs, rituals and practices. While many of us unquestioningly follow our traditions, just as our parents and grandparents did, do we really know the significance or the underlying meaning behind the time-honoured practices?
Aparajita Barai, an artist and a graphic designer who graduated from National Institute of Design, has been on a journey to understand Indian myths and spiritualism and launch new discourses on their meaning through contemporary art...
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Decoding Indian Customs Through Art One Artwork At A Time: Aparajita Barai
Aparajita like Plato one day decided to stop following blindly and start understanding. She wanted to delve deeper into the reasons; the hows and whys of what we generally just follow. Hence, began the quest of unravelling the mysteries and stories that ultimately form the bigger picture, Religion or Faith. As she went on exploring, peeling the mystery away layer by layer she realised she has unearthed a hidden treasure. To bring this treasure out to the world led to the birth of ‘BELOVED INDIA’ her venture.
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Re-Imagining Mythology for Millennials
She lives in Auroville, the suburban mecca of conscious living and the spiritually awakened. Her art is reflective of her state of mind, intricate, folksy details that are very Indian in nature, peppered with spiritual references that often invoke Hindu mythology. In fact, Aparajita Barai states that her mission is to re-stir Indian spiritual philosophy and present it with her personal quest. She aims to dig out ancient meanings and possibilities that have gotten lost in the face of ceremonial practices.
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Patient Enchantress Of The Recurring Motifs
Auroville-based artist Aparajita Barai’s mission is to go back to the roots and the core of Indian culture. Her journey often takes her to India’s spiritual past, and through her project, Beloved India, she aims to connect design and culture and build a bridge between “the ancient” and “modern” to help in its evolution.
A graduate from the National Institute of Design (Ahmedabad), Barai talks to Leena Ghosh about her vision, motifs and about how the words of Rabindranath Tagore have been a constant guide on her path to artistic exploration and self realisation.
The Promenade Hotel, Pondicherry on 8th January 2019 hosted the solo show of a prolific emerging talent from Auroville, Aparajita Barai.
Aparajita Barai unveiled her collection of intricate paintings that are at once ornamental, bold and graphic. One can easily lose themselves in the beautiful undulating lines of her art. Aparajita’s works are influenced from folk styles and reveal the intricacy of traditional Indian art forms. Her work in the symbolic language of Indian deities has gained her an increasing following.