This blog post has not much to do with art, design and architecture but it has a beautiful moral to the story of a great warrior, leader and an outstanding patron of art, architecture and cultural heritage.
Part of the reason I have a soft spot for Timur, the late-14th century Mongolian/Turkic warlord who tried to rebuild the Mongolian Empire and didn’t care how many people he had to slaughter t…
Long before the first digital pixel, architects and builders were using bricks and tiles to create pixelated patterns on structures. The technique, which is still in use today, is known as banna’i and was developed in the Middle East in the 8th century. The brick, as a building material, dates back to around 7500 BC in the upper Tigris area and Anatolia. To display text in banna’i, artisans employ mostly the Kufi calligraphic style, known for transforming the traditionally curved lines of Arabic into straight lines and sharp angles, alternating glazed and bare bricks to write out prayers (like fancy bitmap fonts) or replicate geometric patterns.
Italian artist Francesco Camillo Giogino, or Millo (previously here and here), has painted his latest sky-high mural in the heart of Chile. Never Give Up, created in his signature cartoonish style, features a female figure in the forefront clutching the trunk of a tree. The city behind the girl is black and white, causing the eyes to focus most clearly on a single green vine growing from the heart-shaped stump. The work, which aims to express the hope that Millo believes all hold in their hearts, was produced for Hecho En Casa festival this past month. You can see more of his nature-based and murals on his website, and on Facebook.
Featuring timeless classics from the yo-yo and the slinky, board games Cluedo and Mousetrap, to childhood companions in the form of Stretch Armstrong and Tickle Me Elmo, Toys is the ultimate celebration of beloved childhood relics.
Captured by renowned photographer Kevin Fox, this series of images are now available in a new book of the same name, which includes interesting stories and facts behind each popular toy – from the LEGO bricks on the International National Space Station and the limited-edition perfume that smells of Play-Doh to the fact that Sophie the Giraffes sell more annually in France than babies are born and that Pope Francis and Miley Cyrus have both been spotted wearing Loom Bands.
Accompanied by an essay by child development expert, Stevanne ‘Dr Toy’ Auerbach and packed with trivia on iconic toys and games that redefined play, this coffee-table book pays homage to items that defined a multitude of childhoods.
Essential for lovers of design and nostalgia – and all big kids – Toys is a warm and insightful journey into the past that brings back the sense of anticipation we’ve all felt waiting to get our hands on that new must-have toy. Grab a copy of the bookto recall long lost memories of your childhood.
Via Creative Boom submission | All images courtesy of Kevin Fox
Spanish street artist Javier De Riba (previously here and here) paints floors instead of walls, mapping out interlocking patterns in the style of intricate tiles. All of his pieces are created with spray paint and stencils, yet the resulting works are almost indistinguishable from the floors of traditional Catalan homes where he was raised. Typically placed in abandoned buildings, De Riba’s geometric patterns stand in stark contrast to the derelict walls that surround them, each painting breathing new life into crumbling architecture.
Recently De Riba has released some limited editions of his spray painted works. You can find these prints on both his website and Etsy.
Love stories never go out of fashion, especially when they are narrated using songs and drama. The story of Laur and Chanda, is one such story. The folklore is performed till date in Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh and some parts of North India. Many moons ago, somewhere around 1377-78 AD (the Sultanate Period), a Sufi poet, Maulana Daud composed this narrative in Avadhi, giving birth to the first surviving Indian Sufi romance.
A reason why I am drawn to museums is because they are a storehouse of stories. I chanced upon the story of Laur and Chanda at the Government Museum & Art Gallery, Chandigarh. A delicate set of folios, the Museum has a great book on the collection.
THE STORY & ITS CHARACTERS
The narrative begins with the birth of a beautiful Chanda to King Sahadeva of Govar. While still very young, she is bound in wedlock to a blind and impotent Prince. The great beauty that brought her this lamentable fate also releases her from it, for the unhappy maiden catches the eye of a wandering ascetic, Bajir. Bajir sings her praises wherever he goes and sets the story in motion. His songs arouse the lust of King Rupchand so much so that he forcefully tries to forge an alliance with King Sahadev. This is when our hero, Laur is brought in by the King, to overcome and kill Rupchand; but he falls in love with Chanda, though not before achieving his goal. Chanda engages her confidante, Brihaspati in arranging secret meetings with Laur. But the story isn’t as simple because Laur is married to Maina – who comes to know about her husband’s illicit love and devises ways of winning him back when he elopes with Chanda. Chanda and Laur’s elopement itself is ridden with challenges – snakebites, thieves and the King Mahipat – who invites Laur to a game of dice and wins everything including Chanda. He is, however, outwitted by Chanda and they journey on. Maina on the other hand, entrusts Sirjan, a caravan leader with the task of locating her husband. Eventually, Laur and Chanda return but the lovers’ plight does not end with confrontation and Chanda ends up as Laur’s second wife.
THE CHANDIGARH MUSEUM FOLIOS
The folios of Laur-Chanda are rare and significant in artistic terms. A set of 24 folios has survived, of which 14 lie with the Lahore Museum in Pakistan, and 10 in India’s Chandigarh Museum. The poem by Maulana Daud testifies to his genius as a great storyteller. The artist pays tribute to this very genius by placing him in every folio – almost reminding the viewer of the origins of the story. You will notice him in white with a holy book in every frame.