We find art in the smallest things of our daily life — it could be a sea shell, an old book or even a a tea cup! Strolling around the city from her aunt’s house one day, artist and teacher Divya Ramachandran came across an artistic image — a blue suitcase on top of a huge pile of newspapers carried by a kabadiwala.
The colour of the case attracted Divya so much, that she instantly purchased it off him for Rs 100 and kept it as an art piece at home. She kept wondering how to put it to use for many days, until her friend Aditya (a graphic designer) dropped by.
“I tried so much to open it, but it just wouldn’t. So I just let it be a secret unknown,” says the artist. She adds, “When Aditya told me that we do something creative with it, we came up with a new initiative.”
Thus, The Blue Suitcase was born! Divya shares, “At first, we just went around to photograph the colour contrast of the suitcase with urban backgrounds. The indigo of the suitcase is a brilliant hue. The locations we chose happened to be interesting spots in the city — the stretch of the Besant Nagar beach with interesting graffiti, Parry’s corner, a chaiwala with crowding customers, a construction site, the Theosophical society with age-old stone benches and medieval architecture, an auto stand and so on. When people were intrigued and started striking conversations with us about what we were doing, it led to beautifully compelling narrations about their lives.”
Having put together an anthology of the stories and pictures together, Divya has published the book online and plans to sell printed versions soon. “Rather than the regular bookstore sale, I aim at making art enthusiasts actually read the book. I want it to have a bigger niche reach. There is a plan to sell it in cafes — like a coffee table book for the customers. New cafes like off-beat things and there’s where we are looking for collaborative opportunities.” The book which has 10 chapters has four pictures each to reveal the protagonist and their tale. We can also expect a short film in 2018, which will be a fictional tale on the mystery of the unopened suitcase!
When asked what the objective of the book was, Divya revals, “We come across many people in our everyday life, who make our lives just a little bit easier but we fail to notice them. A chaiwala wants to open a Facebook page with a cool menu for his shop. An auto driver has decorated the interiors of his vehicle like a library with regional and English magazines. There’s so much happening in their lives which can be brought to people’s notice — which will in turn encourage them.”
When asked what inspired her, Divya answers, “Whatever I find around me is an inspiration — garden spaces or crowded roads; everything is art!” Sharing about her bond with Aditya, she concludes, “He is one of the most creative persons I’ve met in life. We live completely different lives. I associate with children and live with crayons, whereas he sits on his computer for hours. We share one common interest — art!”