Water the Exhibition

Abstract or Summary of Project

‘ WATER  the EXHIBITION’  is my take on tying the philosophical research and readings I had done to the ‘Kollam’  designs I grew up very much familiar with based on aesthetics but not with how deep a take it had on the spiritual side. The aim of the exhibition is  to  showcase a one of a kind Designer’s  art-book. And through this, in hopes to share and have the almost lost  art of ‘ kollam ‘ looked at in a different angle  and to show the depth behind these drawings.

Process and More Details

Water the Exhibition

Water; the creator and the destroyer. When I first began the research process many thoughts came into mind, water as a resource , water a means of living , water that nourishes and provides. Although this would have been the more straightforward path to take, I found myself delving intoastrology. Looking at the topic ‘ water’ as a cosmology and as the energy that resides within our subconsciousness.

The astronomical signs most commonly referred to in relation to water are the signs Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. Similar to western astrology, in Hindu astrology the signs are divided roughly to those in the zodiac. The Karka , would symbolise the crab in relation to the sign Cancer , Ali the scorpion and lastly Matsya the fish.

From this you would easily find yourself continuing your pursuit for more knowledge regarding the Hindu belief and philosophy.  In Vedic thought , its is said that each of the celestial planets are linked to an element. And it is believed in Veda that everything came from the vibration of  ‘Om’.

A vibration for Jupiter; ether. Saturn for Air, Mars for Fire, Mercury for Earth and finally Venus for water.

Water that is considered to be an original force, the only element which is not  assigned to a divine being. At this point my curiosity had been sparked. Even if philosophical readings were terribly hard to grasp in terms of content and argumentation, I found myself going back to it , like a planet of my own orbiting this new universe I  had stumbled upon.

Shukra the god who  stands on the planet Venus , was born on a friday . Venus then becomes the planet of Friday , which is also reflected in western astronomy. I took it upon myself  to play a little with basic numerology, not only did what i discover next shock me , but  I was starting to believe this is not so much of a coincidence but much calculated genius.

How was it that Venus and Friday , both end up giving you the numerological value of 8.

8 which symbolises Law. The laws of the universe and karma. It represents all that is the material and non material world.

It balances the flow of energy as it creates and destroys . It becomes the echo of the infinite.

From here onwards it was about discovering the ‘khila – panjara’. How everything theoretically placed in believes are calculated and gridded out for visual purposes. Much like architecture.

But the architecture of the universe. All reduced and concentrated to a simple framework consisting of a square within a  circle, divided in segments and with a central meeting point called the ‘ Bindi’. Hindu’s wear a bindi to  represent the third eye. To cap the energy that  might flow out from it or to enhance the energy flow.

With all of my research heading in a nostalgic manner , I decided to  look at a personal topic to focus on. The topic that revolves around ‘ Kollams’. I find myself very fortunate to have had such a culturally rich childhood where I remember my mother drawing these incredibly geometrically complex and detailed patterns. She would ask me to sit by her and watch  while she told me her childhood memories of her watching her mother. Its reflecting back on memories such as these that got me heading towards the art direction and conceptual reference which tied in like puzzle pieces in how the ‘ kollam ‘ as well was based on a grid. A mandala as more commonly known is said to be a visual symbolisation of the universe itself.

The deliverables :

– Exhibition Preview web design

– Exhibition art – book

– Invites for grand opening

– Dot unit stamp

Preview website 

The teaser website is to entice and to tweak the viewers curiosity in wanting to know more about the exhibition. The exhibition is direct and self explanatory as it revolves around my take on the concept and tying it together with the kollam rawness.

The set as a whole

This includes 2 variations of invites and its respective sleeves, the art book   with a box cover of a mandala laser cut and the exclusive exhibit stamp.

The art-book

The symbolic ‘kollam’  placed on the top of the grey box symbolises the kollam that rests over a concrete block much like how I usually see it on the corridor. I wanted it be be such that the audience would be opening the lid, the ‘kollam’ and be actually looking beneath and into the deeper layers that reside in the book.

The book placed within is placed on its front. Meaning the audience would be reading it backwards. I placed the book strategically on its back because I wanted to remove legibility, to have the words not easily legible so that there is a form of action taken in pursuit of the content placed before them. This them in turn ties back to the process and stages to enlightenment. In a way you could say that the backwards flipping until the core value and message that  is revealed ultimately at the end page symbolise a journey taken by the reader in which I control the speed in which they process the read.

Invitation card

The concept of seeing through down to what is under instead of grazing the surface applies throughout even with the invites which have dual pockets to hold two versions of the invite.

Exhibit Stamp

The dots that form the single unit can be repeated  to enlarge the dot formation as and when you wish. If you wish it to be larger or you feel more experimental then you are free to play around with the arrangement.


Ultimately with this project I must say i have gained valuable insight into my own heritage and beliefs. This the very first project in which I couldn’t envision the end product. While I usually have a clear vision of what I should be working towards i only had bits and pieces i had resolved in my head. Throwing myself out of my comfort zone and to keep working my way towards the core of my concept being the universe in relation to the grid.  The most  challenging had to be in the creation of the mandala itself. While its a personal design choice in regards ti the geometry I stayed true to the essence of how a kollam is out together, either going around and encompassing the individual dots or going through them and using them to form line shapes. Though I feel that if I had more time I would have most definitely done a series like what I had in mind initially. Instead of one book and one mandala design, I would have loved to do a collection experimented with in different mediums as symbolic representations of the kollam, of the centre of the universe of what the centre of being is.

Of what Water is ultimately, all and nothingness in one.


Posted on

March 27, 2015

Skip to toolbar