Culture, traditions and customs make up a very important part of our identities; they shape who we are as individuals and as societies. India is a country that’s rich in diverse cultures and traditions, but in today’s technologically driven world, some of these ancient customs and traditions seem to have no place in people’s minds. With each passing day, a tradition is lost to ignorance and western-centric ideas of progress.
We’ve had to live our lives in isolation and in bubbles, separated from family and loved ones due to the global pandemic; forgetting ourselves, each other and as a result our identities.
Over the past year, I’ve grown tired of the interaction I was having through my 16inch computer screen. I was beginning to feel numb and desensitised to all the things happening in the world. I wanted to change that, remind myself and people to feel and to empathise; make them rediscover and reclaim their identities by getting in touch with their roots.
Could these ancient traditions actually have the power to get us through something as strange as the situation we are in now? Can they give us the mental strength and support we all yearn for during these times? My research-led process, including interviews, workshops and desk research, aims to unpack some of these big questions and break them down into tangible experiences that can help change people’s understanding of themselves and the world around them.
My work is built on the tradition of ancestral worship. My primary aim through this project is to not only revive an ancient tradition but help people get through these uncertain times by giving them an opportunity to connect with family and rediscover their roots; understand who their ancestors were so that they can value their lives in the present. Each experience is designed to take the participant on a self-reflective journey that aids in the release of emotions and expression of feelings, drawing the participant’s attention to the benefit of thinking about their ancestors.
As a designer, I’m guilty of believing that design has the power to change the world, but I think that can only happen if we change the way people feel, think and do things, essentially breaking them out of their comfort zones to make them see things differently and that is what my work does.