Published: 29th May 2020
How this Chennai architect is getting the youth to express ideologies through her Postcard Project
Initially, the project started with just 25 people from different backgrounds and they used postcards as their medium to express their beliefs or ideologies through it. We find out more
Do you like the idea of writing a postcard to your loved ones? Head to Priyanka Ulanganathan's Instagram page 'Revamp by ஆவல்' (Aaval) which has started the Postcard Project to help people from different sectors and backgrounds to express their ideologies, beliefs, ideas through a photograph and a passage written on good 'ol postcards. "This project is something that is aimed at spreading the urge to question, the urge to find or experiment with new mediums and so on. Also, to introduce the idea of being multi-dimensional to the youth of today," says Priyanka (25) from Chennai, who has studied architecture, practices art and also performs on stage.
The Postcard Project was started this year after the lockdown was imposed. "I had been working on the idea since January but could implement it only now. It is a part of something called Aaval, which is a venture I began earlier this year. Aaval means curiosity and eagerness, this project aligns with that idea. Bringing in people from various fields, ideologies, approaches, people who have been experimenting with stuff in their own lives," explains the 25-year-old.
Initially, the project started with just 25 people from different backgrounds and they used postcards as their medium to express their beliefs or ideologies through it. "The visual and the words that they use in the postcards, it represents their inner beliefs, their questions to society. The response has been really great until now with people wanting to express the fact that being multi-dimensional is extremely important in order to be socially conscious. The exposure is huge in terms of various fields, you get to meet a lot of new people, you become aware of more things around you," explains Priyanka.
The project has already roped in in sculptors, filmmakers, architects, dancers, musicians, journalists, NGOs and many others from various fields available across the world. To participate, they have to share a photograph or a visual (can be some artwork or even poems) and a passage that best explains their ideology or beliefs, which will be then printed on postcards. Priyanka says she has worked with most of these people earlier when she first approached them for this project. Until now more than 75 people are on board and have contributed — people from other states and even countries whom she hasn't met.
Banu Anbu is a Designer and Illustrator who did this particular artwork on the photograph taken by a Photographer named Naveen Gowtham. It is called 'Exist Loudly'.This postcard will be made as a 'Hold to Light' postcard which reveals the birds only when you show the card to a strong light source
"We digitally design these posters currently because of the lockdown. Once things go back to normal, these postcards will be printed by the end of June this year. The contributor who receives a set of postcards is required to post them to people in their circle, thus to keep a slow, organic transmission of ideas alive. Each and everyone will get a set of 75 postcards depending on the number of participants for the projects. More than 2000 postcards might be printed in the process, we are hoping. They have promised me that they will all post it, not just give them to people," says Priyanka.
Some interesting postcards that Priyanka has already designed include one from a transman, one from Padma Shri Award Winner Manohar Devadoss who has addressed the postcard, as a sign of remembrance, to his late wife, there are also postcards from journalists, engineers, entrepreneurs and more individuals from various other fields, adds Priyanka.
Rohan Dahotre from Pune is a Wildlife Artist who creates awareness through his art on the conservation of Wildlife. The below work is about Lion Tailed Macaque, one of the critically endangered species from South India
Speaking about choosing postcards as a medium, she says that works on multiple levels. "I see postcards as a counter-culture to consumerism. It is something that is very simple, just a piece of paper, just has a stamp, and you can just post that — you don't need anything fancy on it to create an impact. Postcards have been one of the most important means of communication before World War II. The process in itself needs a lot of patience, starting from posting it, to waiting for the person to receive it, wait for your response. The digital world is cultivating a lot of anxiety and stress, this is a reminder for us to handle our insecurities and anxious feelings. Thus, the content of the postcards is curated in a way that the questions are about our inner anxieties, beliefs etc," explains the 25-year-old.
The target audience for this project is mainly children and young people but it is also not just meant for them, she adds. "Children and youngsters spend most of their growing years in school and educational institutions, the idea is to open up children to different ideologies and worlds. We would like to put up interactive exhibitions in schools and colleges later when the postcards are ready. They will get to interact with the contributors, they will come and address and speak about their lives, beliefs with the children. Each of these exhibitions will have multiple people coming in from different backgrounds to interact with youngsters. I am also planning to build a board game too, based on the questions posed behind each and every card, so when youngsters play, it can provoke their thoughts," she adds. The postcards can also have thought-provoking questions about someone's ideas or beliefs that they can write down behind their postcard. Those will later be taken up at the exhibitions to be held in educational institutions.
Thirupurasundari Sevvel is an Architect, Urban Planner, Educator, Entrepreneur who walks us through Kaikilai in Sangam Literature on the process of Searching, Curiosity, and passion
Priyanka began Aaval as an Instagram handle, which she has now set up as a proper venture, where she has been sharing about the Postcard Project. "Platform for anyone to experiment, it will connect people from various fields through different mediums, like a postcard is one of them. For example, my mother always crafted various things at home that she never thought of putting up for sale. She made some baskets, bags out of plastic wires, so that can also be sold or given to people through Aaval, reiterating the fact that anything can be a medium. Aaval is for everyone, so we can help each other," she concludes.
Here's how you can contribute too: