The concept of archives seems redundant in the context of our highly digitized world that's more about their digital footprint; of what's recorded as opposed to what's not, in a twisted dissonance of what's actually worth documenting when it comes to preserving personal and collective histories. But even now, certain aspects of society, particularly marginalized communities, continue to exist beyond the scope of the internet. Recognizing the importance of documenting the cultural and culinary traditions of such communities, a design project uses contemporary storytelling to cement the legacy of an indigenous community.
Visual artist and 'autoethnographer of Mumbai's Koli Community', Parag Tandel's book Ek Bagal Mein Chand Hoga, Ek Bagal Mein Rotiyan won the Blue Elephant at this year's Kyoorius Design Awards. An important piece of cultural archive as well as a multi-contextual design marvel, the book is an artistic attempt at the preservation of traditional recipes in the face of urban encroachment and ecological challenges. Collaborating closely with the women of the Chendani fishing village, Tandel meticulously documented 13 hand-written heirloom recipes, accompanied by evocative drawings and poems, all penned in the native Koli language.
The limited edition book, a veritable collector's item, masterfully echoes the colour palette, form and design of traditional government office folders, adding a touch of archival authenticity to its essence. Each page showcases the intricate cultural narrative of the Koli community, highlighting the significance of sustainable food practices and the urgent need for cultural conservation. Designed by Bombay Duck Designs researched and produced by Tandel Fund of Archives and published by TARQ, the book is an ode to the rich culinary legacy of the Koli community.
Ek Bagal Mein Chand Hoga, Ek Bagal Mein Rotiyan serves as both a poignant reminder of cultural preservation and a visually captivating journey into the heart of Mumbai's indigenous food culture. With its delicately crafted blend of art, history, and tradition, this exquisite publication stands as a beacon of hope for the continued celebration and safeguarding of cultural identity amidst the changing tides of modernization.
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