Common verses, unusual art
Poetry has been integral to the art of several artists — ranging from legends like Rabindranath Tagore to contemporary names like Atul Dodiya, Paresh Maity and Manav Gupta to name a few — but, however evocative may be their writing, it has been confined to the reading pleasure of a few connoisseurs.
For most of us, poetry is a chapter or two to be mugged from our English syllabus. But then there are those who secretly nurse the dream of writing poetry and some day, even seeing it published. But did you ever think that you could now translate your writing into a piece of art? A unique initiative in New Delhi — Kavi: The Poetry-Art Project — is doing just that and more. Started by a collective of family and friends last year, the concept is to bring poems alive with viable, affordable and useful visual concepts for living spaces, as poem artworks for walls, poem lamps, framed poem prints, poem piggy banks, poem clocks, poem bags, poem tables and more.
Says Amit Singh, one of the young entrepreneurs behind the concept, “We started Kavi with the simple thought that something as beautiful as poetry deserves to be seen, read and realised more in tangible forms in our day-to-day lives than only in blogs, books, private journals and recitals.”
While in the initial stages, the poem artefacts were created using verses written by Soumya Mukerji and a few others in this creative collective, Kavi now has writers of all ages writing in from across the globe. “We’ve lost count of the poems coming our way,” says Mukerji, “There are at least 300 that find their way to our inbox every month. From these, we work on a selection and present them as a choice for anyone looking for poem-art for a particular mood or occasion. If a poet’s poem is chosen by a collector, they get their due royalty, a display in our photo gallery and of course, lots of readers and admirers in the collector’s home. Thankfully, there’s no dearth of the media we can use for poetry — as everything inspires poetry, it can add value to almost anything around us.”
Creating art out of poems may not have been a daunting task, since Kavi is blessed to have the skilled hand of visual art specialist Kalpana Mukerji, but reaching out to the wider market, retailers even, and explaining how poetry ‘sells’ sure is.
“Choosing the apt media for both visual art and words to come alive, and at the same time making sure it’s something utilitarian and not just another useless show piece, is always a challenge,” says Madhuri Balodi, who supports Singh in marketing the products.
Considering the fact that the Kavi team has already organised several exhibitions, retails from two stores in Delhi and is now set to have an event in association with AISEC on International Poetry Day, the going has been good so far. After all, each article is completely handmade, hand-crafted and hand-assembled, no matter what it takes.
“If every poem comes from the heart, so must every artwork, we believe,” says Mukerji, “Some of these things may look simple to create but a lot of thought, soul and sweat goes into these.”
So whether you wish to own a piece of poem-art, or want your poetry to breathe as one, look no further.
(Poonam Goel is a freelance journalist who contributes articles on visual arts for unboxedwriters.com)