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Letters to a Malayali

Kochi-based graphic designer Theresa Joseph George’s venture ‘Via Kerala’ makes nostalgic collectables inspired by the state’s dialect

Published: 15th July 2021 06:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th July 2021 06:38 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Malayalam script and its compound alphabets have a special place in Theresa Joseph George’s heart. This passion started as experimentation with the script’s typography back in 2012. Soon, she transformed the alphabets into motifs that represent Kerala. Her entrepreneurial venture ‘Via Kerala’ features loopy, nostalgic moulds that come in the form of something as simple as a fridge magnet, that remind you of your homeland — a souvenir any true Malayali can relate to.

A graphic designer based in Kochi, Theresa is on a mission to make the Malayalam script part of our daily lives. Growing up, she never learned to read or write Malayalam. Nevertheless, she was fond of the way they were drawn. “It helps me as a designer. Since I am not bound by any rules, I can design them the way I want. When I see the letter, I know how it is pronounced, where it is used and so on,” says Theresa. 

Born in nostalgia
Theresa was brought up outside Kerala. Every time she visited her homeland, she was taken by its greenery and vivid sceneries, and the Malayalam letters on every billboard and wall. “As you grow up you start pondering over your identity. Where you are from influences how you define yourself,” says Theresa. 
Handmade ceramic and wooden blocks, bags, T-shirts, soft toys and decors are all designed around Malayali nostalgia. Fridge magnets designed like the old Indian ‘paisa’ coins are another highlight. Theresa also tries to popularise the state’s rich biodiversity through her venture. “The Western Ghats is home to abundant fauna and flora,” says Theresa. So her set of playing cards feature the fauna from the Western Ghats.

Instahandle: @viakerala



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