What makes an image Indian?
The vernacular design of matchbox labels

These are excerpts from my masters thesis at Emily Carr University for Art + Design. The research investigates India’s seemingly kitschy, contemporary visual culture through the lens of a matchbox label. India's visual culture is transitioning into a more digitally influenced language as a result of ­globalization. Matchbox labels have represented various points in India’s history by drawing from cultural, political and social changes. A collection of these old labels will tell the viewer a story about India’s history. However, the focus of these communicative matchbox labels has shifted. The research focuses on understanding the factors that influence vernacular images and experimenting with the form of a matchbox label in relation to these factors.

Visual culture:
            a “look” that is associated with or “native” to a particular time, place, event,

or group. It characterizes the image

that comes to mind when referring to any one of these specific things, a visual reference to zeitgeist.

*

These images are a glimpse into my process work. If you are interested in understanding the intent and outcome of the research, please feel free to contact me.

This research aims at analyzing, deconstructing and creating Indian Matchbox labels in order to experiment with cultivating a visual language of labels that can engage in current and contemporary narratives of a changing India. It aims at contemporizing the themes on these labels in order to reflect socio-political change and their capacity to tell stories and raise dialogue.