Entrées taggées 'Cross-cultural influences'
Our first discussion was directed towards the questions, what is Transcultural Design? First the general question what is culture?
The discussion in class resulted in the following: Culture is everything from how you are born to how you are burried, language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts. …
“Culture” occurred as a central concept in anthropology in the 20th century, including human phenomena that cannot be directly attributed to genetic inheritance.
What is Transculturality?
We read and discussed the the paper by Wolfgang Welsch: Transculturality – the Puzzling Form of Cultures Today. The following text is a compilation of the same paper and our discussion.
Though conceptions of culture are not just descriptive, but operative concepts. Our understanding of culture is an active factor in our cultural life and even more important for studies in Transcultural Design.
More specifically the concept of cultures has been given different names: Single Culture, Interculture, Multiculture and Transculture.
The old concept of single culture is characterized by three elements: by social homogenization, ethnic consolidation and intercultural delimitation. The concept is folk-bound and a decided delimitation towards the outside ensues: Every culture is, as the culture of one folk, to be distinguished and to remain separated from other folks’ cultures. The concept is separatory and inapropriate to describe the situation of today’s cultures.
Though many peope still believe this concept to be valid, it has never existed in the first place.
Carl Zuckmayer once wonderfully described historical transculturality in The Devil’s General: “[...] just imagine your line of ancestry, from the birth of Christ on. There was a Roman commander, a dark type, brown like a ripe olive, he had taught a blond girl Latin. And then a Jewish spice dealer came into the family, he was a serious person, who became a Christian before his marriage and founded the house’s Catholic tradition. – And then came a Greek doctor, or a Celtic legionary, a Grisonian landsknecht, a Swedish horseman, a Napoleonic soldier, a deserted Cossack, a Black Forest miner, a wandering miller’s boy from the Alsace, a fat mariner from Holland, a Magyar, a pandour, a Viennese officer, a French actor, a Bohemian musician – all lived on the Rhine, brawled, boozed, and sang and begot children there – and – Goethe, he was from the same pot, and Beethoven, and Gutenberg, and Mathias Grünewald, and – oh, whatever – just look in the encyclopaedia. They were the best, my dear! The world’s best! And why? Because that’s where the peoples intermixed. Intermixed – like the waters from sources, streams and rivers, so, that they run together to a great, living torrent” (Carl Zuckmayer, 1963).
The concept of Interculture and Multiculture are promoting a mutual understanding of different cultures. Yet they are, as Wolfgang Welsch argues, almost as inappropriate as the traditional concept itself, because they still conceptually presuppose it.
The concept of interculturality still considers cultures as spheres which necessarily leads to intercultural conflicts. So, according to the logic of this conception, cultures constituted as spheres or islands can do nothing other than collide with one another, cultures of this kind must ignore, defame or combat one another.
The concept of multiculturality is similar to that of interculturality, but seeks opportunities for tolerance and understanding, and for avoidance or handling of conflict. Wolfgang Welsch argues that, “its all too traditional understanding of cultures threatens to engender regressive tendencies which by appealing to a particularistic cultural identity lead to ghettoization or cultural fundamentalism.”
Only the transcultural as a concept works insofar that it passes through classical cultural boundaries. Cultural conditions today are largely characterized by mixes and permeations. The concept of transculturality seeks to articulate this altered cultural constitution.
What a designer needs to understand is that “Cultures today are extremely interconnected and entangled with each other. Lifestyles no longer end at the borders of national cultures, but go beyond these, are found in the same way in other cultures. The way of life for an economist, an academic or a journalist is no longer German or French, but rather European or global in tone. The new forms of entanglement are a consequence of migratory processes, as well as of worldwide material and immaterial communications systems and economic interdependencies and dependencies.”
Sabina von Kessel
(All quotes from Wolfgang Welsch: Transculturality – the Puzzling Form of Cultures Today)
[ Lire → ]
Cross-cultural influences · Indian Design · L'Ecole de Design de Nantes Atlantique · Profiles
During our TCD workshop in Anegundi/Hampi several projects were ideated and prototyped.
1. Adding value to a local product
Charlotte Noel du Payrat developed a new product. She used locally available materials adding value with a new material mix and design.
2. Crossing the river
To cross the Tungabhadra river which separates Hampi from Anegundi, local people and also tourists used to employ coracles, traditional round fisher boats.
Four years ago, the government provided a boat to make the crossing of the river easier.
This improved people’s life : they can now cross the river and also take their bikes to the other side.
There are some problems existing around the present solution and we were asking ourselves, how we could do improve the present situation and do more for the local people ?
- The present system wastes time, lacks security and can be too expensive for some people
- The footbridge to load things into the boat is a simple wood board, the width about 30cm.
- Pedestrians as well as motorbikes use it. There is no security system and people or motorbike can fall in the water at anytime.
- Regarding the security rules in the boat itself, they are none. Sometime they can put six motorbikes in it, even on the bench made for human.
- It takes between six and ten minutes to fill up the boat, and little less to empty it.
- About 150-200 round trips are made by the boat each day, carrying an average of twenty people.
- Crossing the river costs ten Indian Rupees for pedestrians and ten more for motorbikes. This adds up to quite an amount if you earn little, and have to cross the river twice a day all year long.
- The construction of a bridge has been given up after the construction collapsed, because the construction company used bad material and since then, the local government decided not to built a bridge ever again.
- The water rises between two and three meters during the moonson. The river is at that time too dangerous for the boat to be used. People have to use a sixteen kilometers long road to bypass the river.
The aim of the project was to imagine a way to improve the crossing of the river, which was not a bridge, but a solution which makes crossing for pedestrians as well as motorbikers easier.
The idea of a car ferry gang-bridge was proposed, then dropped, regarding the huge amount of work and time it would have asked.
We choose to come up with a simpler concept, which can be realised more easily.
A movable ponton, with a range of services to promote the tourism and improve the accessibility of the shuttle-boat.
It would include :
- a waiting place with sitting area, protected from the sun with hanging old sari canvas sheet
- an information point ( offering maps of Anegundi and Hampi, displaying important places to discover and activities to do )
- two coracles and a stand to rent those out to make tours on the river
- a dedicated place for the boarding of the shuttle-boat
The ponton would have a metal structure combined with local materials such as bamboo, local wood, stones to moore it…
Here a sketch and photo of your prototype
The shuttle-boat itself would need some improvements:
- Space would clearly be divided for pedestrians and motorbikes, and there would be a proper and safe footbridge with guardrails, wide of at least 90cm to load up the boad.
- A quota of passengers and motorbikes has to be established for more safety.
This solution would provide work to people: it needs to be built and maintained, it would hire guides, fishermen, give clients to local restaurant, etc.
It would help in the development of small enterprises all along the river, providing jobs and income to people.
Marianne Valentine Flora and Alban
3. The Anegundi Mapping Project
Hampi has a unique cultural heritage engraved in its land that makes it so special. The historical background of the site can be seen and felt everywhere like a backdrop on the land. Its huge rocks spread on the Deccan plateau are bringing a million years history while the numerous temples witness ancient civilizations. The spectacular temples lead to imagination and many questions; how was daily life at ancient times? How did people behave with each other ? What were their believes, habits, talks? Understanding the social background is challenging, even more with the presence of international tourists, since there is no sign of local people in the ancient town anymore.
Five years ago its inhabitant were evicted from the ancient temples in which they were living and made an income with small shops and internet parlours. Unesco’s world heritage rules demanded those actions. A feeling of absence is present in this part of Hampi.
Follow us to the other side of the Tungabhadra river where the Indian population brings life to their historical and cultural background. In the small village of Anegundi, a temple becomes a school or a house, and a “mahal” turns into social place. Did they forget about their past/heritage or are they proud of this background? How will life evolve in this village?
The understanding of the site has to be achieved throughout a full experience of its social life. The map project is based on ephemeral tourist population and local life. A basic map helps tourists for amenities and sight seeing but seems quite insufficient to really experience Hampi. The experience has to go further and encourage these two groups, the tourists and the villagers, to meet and discover each other. The concept of this new map is to provide a full understanding of the site with further knowledge.
Those extra informations will be provided with the map, leading to surprises. The map becomes an “information treasure”.
The map contains extra layers plus ” Anegundi’s secrets”.
Claire and Pierre
4. Spatial Concept
Hampi is well known for its historical background, mostly expressed by the architecture of the differents temples and sites spread all across the region.
Because of that, a lot of sites become protected and gained the statut of “attractions”, developping a new economy based on tourism, creating heavy spatial contrast by highlighting particular places instead of others.
Situated at 2 kilometers of Hampi, on the nothern bank of the Tungbhadra river, the village of Anegundi is a good exemple of this negative effect :
On one hand, most of the tourism is attracted by the Anegundi Temple, the Virupaksha Temple or the Sasivekalu Ganesha with a lot of organisations trying to instore a conservative movement such as The Kishkinda Trust or the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts.
Because of that, the building definition is enhanced, its not a place to live anymore, it become more than that, it is an attraction and, most of the time, it is a benefit.
In the other hand, by a small walk inside the village, there are abandonned spaces as well, sometime a square where kids use to play, sometimes a landfill, a dying space, soon to be replace that don’t attract much attentions.
But theses spaces still have an impact in the village life, they are still taking a volume, re-configure, create shadows, change the wind circulation or the sound frequency.
By re-creating the place they used to take when they were still fully functionnal, using local material such as fabric and bamboo, people will start to be aware of the virtual mass of the buildings.
The concept firstly consist of understanding the building history, when it was constructed, what was its function, the relations it used to have with the citizen and how it evolved until the present time.
The second point is to have a clear representation of its architecture, its size and the material it was made of, to deliver an accurate representation at the end of the process
By doing so, it is not only creating a new structure but a “superstructure”
Because of its blend between the physical and the historical commemoration, how it evolved, expand or fall-off trough time, it gives another point of view of the suburb history for the outsider who visit it and above all for the residents, of the heritage of Anegundi
Show as an installation on site, its potential will be fully developed by being a part of a bigger event such as the Design Week, considered by The Kishkinda Trust in Hampi, offering new possibilities for the concept itself by playing with not only one building but the village itself, creating new circulations, perfomances with projection on the inside/outside of the fabric walls or mobile application development accompanying visitors with extra infos on the architecture and heritage of these superstructures.
This intervention is centered on questionning the identity of the space, its relationship with the past, the memory trace and physical evidence that it leaves within the city.
The use of white fabric, disposed like bandages, give the spatial instalation a mortual aspect, creating in the same time a reconnection with the collective consciousness.
[ Lire → ]
Cross-cultural influences · Indian Culture · Indian Design · Uncategorized
The memoires 2014 are ready! Beautifully designed and printed, this years dissertations handle a range of interesting topics:
- An insight in Indian Prisons
- Indian Wine
- Empowerment of Women in Indian Streets
- Promoting Indian Handicraft
- The Monthly Blush
- Embroidery and Muslim Traditions
- Home is where you build it
- Go Away
- Patterns on Purpose
- Integration of orphan and destitute children through play and entertainment
- Emergency Exit. Disasters. Floods
- The public space in India
[ Lire → ]
Cross-cultural influences · Indian Culture · Indian Design · Indian life · L'Ecole de Design de Nantes Atlantique · Uncategorized
…was one of the questions discussed by students, when designing for the new company building of EFD Induction.
Designers have recently discovered that it is important to look at design in terms of storytelling, using story-centered design to create smarter, better designed products. “One of the biggest flubs that product teams make is confusing designs that look great with designs that actually work well. It’s a simple mistake, but it can have grave consequences: If your product doesn’t work well, no one will even care how it looks, after all.“(1)
Here is how students dealt with story-centered design in the long project:
1. Students were asked to remember a fairytale or story of their childhood and map the same.
2. This was followed by an exercise called the Hero’s journey. The Hero’s journey is based on Joseph Campbell’s monomyth. Joseph Campbell, best known for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion has found that numerous myths from disparate times and regions share fundamental structures and stages. Campbell describes 17 stages or steps along this journey.Campbell’s proposed structure has been expanded and modified since its conception. Many modern characterizations of it add in new steps (such as the hero having a miraculous birth) or combine or prune others.
Hero’s Journey Overview
- Heroes are introduced in the ORDINARY WORLD
- they receive the CALL TO ADVENTURE
- They are RELUCTANT at first or REFUSE THE CALL, but
- are encouraged by a MENTOR to
- CROSS THE THRESHOLD and enter the Special World, where
- they encounter TESTS, ALLIES, AND ENEMIES.
- They APPROACH THE IN-MOST CAVE, cross a second threshold
- where they endure the ORDEAL
- They take possession of their REWARD and
- are pursued on THE ROAD BACK to the Ordinary World.
- They cross the third threshold, experience a RESURRECTION, and are transformed by the experience.
- They RETURN WITH THE ELIXIR, a boon or treasure to benefit the ORDINARY WORLD. (2)
Campbell has influenced a number of artists, musicians, poets, and filmmakers, including Bob Dylan, Mickey Hart, Bob Weir, and Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead.
Modern, well documented examples of using Campbell’s theory in the film industry are The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers, a popular writers’ textbook by screenwriter Christopher Vogler, focusing on the theory that most stories can be boiled down to a series of narrative structures and character archetypes, described through mythological allegory. George Lucas’s Star Wars is an example of how Hollywood has made use of the mythical journey.
3. Bringing it together: The stakeholder’s journey, the design (opportunities) and the brand
TCD Students have taken Campbell’s format to describe the stakeholder’s journey through the company, define design opportunities and check this with their design ideas. Here is an example of the client’s journey by the Green Team:
The Hero’s Journey was used as a format to design the client’s journey in EFD
Here is an example of the employees journey by the Red Team:
The. employees journey designed by the Red Team
A structure developed by the Blue Team
What has branding to do with our designs…?
Answer: Which questions are you asking when meeting somebody, you don’t know.
Brand design is the process of creating a distinct identity and personality in order to communicate and promote an organisation, person, product or service, is one possible definition of branding. But to find out more how one can connect a brand and design, one can ask simple questions. The same questions one would be asking when meeting another person for the first time. Who are you? What are you? What about you? What about you and me?
4. Students were asked to use the format to gain clarity and build links. Here is an example of connecting storytelling, the brand and the design by the Green Team.
(The long project is a real-world project for EFD, a global company of German origin, which constructs highly specialized induction-machines for the automotive and motorbike industry worldwide. Students were asked to develop designs for a new EFD company building, which will come up near the International Airport in Bangalore. The architects are a mixed team from Spain, Germany and India.TCD-Students are working in three teams, red, blue and green and will present their phase 2 work in the EFD company itself to trigger a discussion with the employees.)
Sabina von Kessel, TCD faculty, is presently facilitating this project with the A4-TCD-students.
[ Lire → ]
Cross-cultural influences · Indian Industry · L'Ecole de Design de Nantes Atlantique · Uncategorized
THE HINDU, the second largest circulated English newspaper in India, has published an article Design for Development, which refers to design projects and opportunities both in rural and urban Indian contexts. In the emerging economy young designers and entrepreneurs have taken it upon themselves to make a difference through their individual ventures.
Read the full article here
[ Lire → ]
Cross-cultural influences · Indian Design · Indian Industry · Indian life · Indian popular Art
Visualization plays a role at every stage of the design process. Presently Gauthier Raguin, A5 student in Transcultural Design, is developing, formulating and elaborating an idea on which his Master project is founded, while visualizing his research about waste management in Bangalore.
[ Lire → ]
Cross-cultural influences · L'Ecole de Design de Nantes Atlantique · Uncategorized
I have attended the first DesignDay with Kshitiz on Saturday, October 20, 2012, at the Microsoft Research Lab (Lavelle Road, one kilometer South from MG Road). It is a very new concept, aiming for a monthly gathering of good thinking minds to make some awesome stuff. It is not about finding a job or showing off his own work, but rather opening his mind and acting as a community to build something bigger. Participation is the key, everybody is required to present his work, conduct a lecture or whatever. By the way, the project is ran by only three people, and they recruit volunteers to help them. Another value is the consistency prevailing over glamour. Meaning that you don’t need any specific knowledge to talk about space design or user experience, as long as you have an analytic mind, and are able to think about relevant topics. DesignDay aims to be multidisciplinary, so gathering designers from every possible horizon will lead to a cross-learning experience.
The program was pretty simple: A first lecture about user-experience was about an application which helps measuring our mood of the current moment, and then proposes poems, music, and other features fitting that mood. A second lecture about biomimicry, which is the great idea of reusing nature’s logic to design, by introducing biologists to design teams. Last one about generative systems, or the way of using algorithms to create unique visuals, using merely one program. Last but not least, the event finished with a JAM session, where we worked in teams about an application to get healthy using smartphones & social networking. This moment was a great opportunity to work with professionals and see actually what is their methodology. Needless to say that we all had our own.
So guys, if you’re interested in meeting, experiencing, working with, discovering Indian design and the emerging design community around Bangalore, do attend the next DesignDay .
Text: Jean-Baptiste Haag, A4 student and intern,
[ Lire → ]
Cross-cultural influences · Indian Design · Uncategorized
During British colonization, traditional representations of Hindu divinities were replaced by printed color images. The most powerful example of the colonial influence is the art calendar. This art form has been produced for British patrons and the Anglicized Indian elite . The art calendar accompanied an “Aryanization” standard of beauty (1).
The earliest calendars show a representation of the goddess Lakshmi, whose image is transformed by the colonial aesthetic. This goddess represents wealth, happiness, fertility as well as beauty. This one takes the Victorian, Greek or Aryan look. She is shown on a Italianate landscape similar to the work of the pre-Romantic painter Thomas Gainsborough (1).
One of the most famous artist of the art calendar is Raja Ravi Varma. He is the first Indian artist who painted gods with human proportions and adopted the realistic European style (2).
According to me, there are similarities between the paintings of this artist and those of the Renaissance. The first is the recovery of aesthetic codes of the art of ancient Greece. Many of his oil paintings are representations of dramatized scenes of mythological or legendary Hindu religion. Feminine forms are round, harmonious, the breasts are small and close. Women are often depicted with one knee slightly flexed which is the typical posture of ancient Greece statues, then taken up by the current Renaissance. The attention to draping saris and clothing also recall these two periods (3).
To illustrate my point of view, I would compare his oil painting of the goddess Lakshmi (1896), exposed auMaharaja Fateh Singh Museum Vadora in Gujarat, with”The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli painted (1486). The comparison between Lakshmi and Venus seems to me relevant. Both of them are an image of exacerbated femininity, fertility, love, home and, in this painting, it seems that Lakshmi is presented as a Venus, even if the erotism is less present for Lakshmi than Venus.
The first similarity is the posture, both stand with a flexed knee and they are positioned in the center of the painting. Both are painted in a rounded and harmonious manner. The base that supports them, a lotus for Lakshmi, a shell for Venus, is also similar, both related to water and rounded.
Second, the environments around them are similar in the two paintings. A shore with green vegetation (certainly a symbol of fertility), and the omnipresence of the element of water.
Venus is surrounded by Zephyr and Chloris and a woman, who can be identified as Flore, wearing a dress covered with blueberries, a necklace and a belt of foliage of roses, which gives him a cloak to cover his nakedness (4 ).
Lakshmi is surrounded by two swans, who represent the spirit, the water and the birth of the world (5), and an elephant, symbolizing loyalty and chance (6), handing him a flower garland, offered a sign of respect and homage to the goddess (7).
But some differences are still significant, the painting of Raja Ravi Varma is calm and serene while the one of Botticelli is in motion. But the composition and the spirit of these two paintings are, in my opinion, very similar.
While this example may seem anecdotal, it only takes to observe other mythological theme paintings of Raja Ravi Varma to realize that these codes are redundant in its work.
Nowadays, the art calendar has become a popular object and a medium of advertising. While the mythological and religious themes are still present, secular and patriotic images are now present (2).
Manon Foucraut, A5 Student, Bangalore
Manon is at present researching about “Beauty in India” for her Master Thesis. SvK
[ Lire → ]
Cross-cultural influences · Indian Culture · Indian popular Art
Every morning and evening, I take the bus from Yelahanka NES to Palace Road. One month ago, I began my internship in a graphic agency called Kena Design. You can find it on Palace Road, 4th level of Sycon Polaris, above the shop Croma.
I am not a graphic designer, but I need to improve in this specialty and graphic design is a tool important to communicate all projects.
This agency is typicaly female. All my collegues are women, and are very nice and kind. There is a good ambiance and we talk a lot about the differences between our cultures. Each lunch they help me chose Indian food to discover.
My first project was about the graphics and illustrations for a calendar. They gave me some keywords for inspirations like: India, color, pattern… I began to do research about the colors used in India, patterns, textiles, the indian graphics… I must find a good theme for my calendar. I decided to try with the events in India. Since I arrived in India, each month, there is an event (the Independance Day, or Ganesh and Diwali). So I suggested to my mentor to work on Indan events. I researched what is happening each month in this country.
My list was:
January : Sankranti
Sankranti is a event with kites. Mainly in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. There are 3 days of very colorful festival is the Feast of the Tamil harvest.
Solemn prayer for the Hindu deity Shiva. Day of tales and songs specially dedicated to Chidambaram, Kalahasti, Khajuraho, Varanasi and Bombay.
Mainly in the north. Popularly called the festival of colors announcing the start of spring. Lively festival where people throw water and colored powders.
April : Baishakhi
In northern India, Punjab, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, Hindu calendar New Year. Many folk dances. Women wear yellow saris.
May : Bouddha Purnima
Buddha Purnima is one of the most important Buddhist festivals. It celebrates the birth, enlightenment and attainment of Nirvana Buddha.
June: Rath Yatra
Mainly in Orissa. The biggest festival around the temples in honor of the god Jagannath (God of the Universe). Three huge trucks pulled by thousands of pilgrims from the temple of Puri. The same festival in a smaller scale took place at Ramnagar (near Varanasi), Serampore (near Calcutta) and Jagannathpur (near Ranchi).
July: Raksha Bandhan
In northern and western India, ancient tradition which is to attach cords or symbolically ォ RAKHI サ a feeling of brotherhood. This symbolic act is the confirmation of a mutual protection order (between siblings and between friends). These Rakhis Talismen or colored cords that are attached each other around the wrist, the people making these vows of mutual brotherhood.
Harvest festival in Kerala, snake boat race in the lagoons of the coastal state in southern India.
September : Ganesh Chaturthi:
Mainly Pune and Mumbai in Maharashtra but also in Orissa and Madras. Dedicated to the elephant god Ganesh. Giant representation of the deity procession ending with the disposal of it. Festival very colorful, especially the day of immersion Bombay.
National holiday, one of the most popular Indian festival, celebrated in different ways depending on the region. In the north, particularly in Delhi (where the festival is known as Ram Lila) games and songs recall the life of the god Ram. A Kulu it is also very colorful and well-known and also Mysore. In Bengal and eastern regions, it is known as Durga Pudja, south as the Navarat.
National holiday, one of the most lively and colorful Indian festival. In some parts of India this is the beginning of the Hindu calendar. In the eastern states, the goddess Kali is particularly celebrated. In other parts, is the goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity that is worshiped. Throughout India is a festival of fireworks and firecrackers.
December: Christmas day
National Day. Celebration of Christmas Day, Day very exuberant and colorful, especially in Bombay, Goa and Kerala.
It was very interesting to discover some things about India, the cultutre and these events. I learned a lot about patterns, the importance of the details… And there was Puja Day.
I had difficulty finding the graphism for the project so my mentor advised me choose one event. I chose to work on the Diwali Festival. I did some drawings, some simple and others detailed. I choose the simple one and I created a card for Diwali. It was a little card for friends, and my collegues said «Oh it’s cute!». During this project, I coded a website, and helped code the flash (Action Script 3) for animations.
Currently, I’m working on Hindi or Kanada typography. I went to the city to photograph each font I saw and I didn’t understand. I classified it and try some iterations. The goal of this project is to create a poster. This Project is always a work in progress.
To be continued…!!!
[ Lire → ]
Cross-cultural influences · Indian Culture · Indian life
Within the framework of Wedding Project, I got interested in the tale of a traditional wedding sari, wanted to know how it was manufactured. I tracked its manufacture process, from its weaving to when it is worn by the bride at her wedding.
First, there are traditional dyers. They are responsible for processing and dyeing silk before being woven to make a sari. I learned how they treat the silk by boiling it in water and bleaching it with acid. Then the silk can be dyed with different colors in large vats before rinsing and drying to fix the color. These dyers have no fixed salary and work in very poor conditions. Then work all day in the heat, inhaling dangerous chemicals to treat and dye the silk.
After that, I met Pavithra Muddaya, a sari designer. By talking with her, I understood there is an intermediary between the weaver and the seller. The fabrics, shapes and patterns are created and designed by her. She showed me several of her patterns and drawings and explained to me how each small circle on the paper represents a weaving’s stitch for the weaver.
Then I met two kinds of weavers : traditional weaver who uses a hand loom and contemporary weavers who use a power loom. I saw how they weave silk to make saris. The traditional weaver operates his own hand loom and produces between 3 and 4 saris per week. He is paid 250 rupees per sari. The weaver who uses power loom produces an average of two saris per day, and the salary is 200 rupees per sari.
So the competition is really stiff between manual weavers and power looms. Many have to stop their occupation. I think it’s really sad to see traditional crafts that may disappear.
Once wedding saris are manufactured, they are sold in several kinds of specialized sari shops . I met sellers in inexpensive shops, and other vendors of high quality shops. In lower-end shops we can find saris not very expensive because they are not generally woven with gold. Employees of these stores earn between 5,000 and 10,000 rupees and the manager earns between 10,000 and 20,000 rupees per month.
On the other hand in high-end stores can sell saris up to 44,000 rupees for the most luxurious. Employees of these stores earn between 10,000 and 20,000 rupees and the manager can earn up to 50,000 rupees per month.
I interviewed the women in these stores about their purchases of saris. I learned that women want to buy sari with gold, but not necessarily red or mustard as it is done traditionally. And the three women whom I asked, would spend between 10,000 and 20,000 rupees for their wedding sari. And here I realize that one seller earns the same amount per month as a woman wants to spend for one sari ! There is such a huge profit margin.
And to finish, I met two young brides to talk about their respective marriages and how they have experienced this important day in their saris. I learned they had spent between 50,000 and 60,000 rupees for their wedding saris. In general they have two saris, one for the ceremony and one for the reception. The first is often red, green or mustard, very traditional. And the second is more modern, a color that the bride wishes. The most striking fact is that they don’t know anything about how their saris are made, where they come from and especially the worries and working conditions faced by silk workers.
By doing research about the steps in the manufacture of a sari, I have discovered a lot of contrasts of living and working in different social classes in India.
When I chose this topic, I had no idea of all these social problems. I was just interested in how a sari is made. The reality was striking when I went to see the weaver after the designer. And when I saw the price of a wedding sari after seeing the conditions in which dyers lived. So there are real inequalities within a same production line.
Article written by Juliane Denogent.
[ Lire → ]
Cross-cultural influences · Indian Culture