Restore’s Interior Designer Manon Foucraut has spent 4 years in India, and expresses her ideas about the country in her sketches.
For the four years that I have lived in India, many things have caught my eye: the multitude of Indias that exist, modern and traditional; the diversity of religious and cultural expression; the variety of jewellery and personal adornment, the colours.
At first, my impression was one of visual cacophony. But patient observation helped me tease out individual elements. Most fascinating to me were the people. And how all of their history, culture and identity was expressed in very different ways. This, in itself, is not new: many visitors have have depicted the different ethnicities and groups of the country before.
I was searching for a unique metaphor: for my own first reaction to the country, my wide-eyed surprise and astonishment. Which is why every single composition is built around an EYE.
It is at once a vehicle to convey my surprise at the diversity of the people of the country and the way Indians express their identity with visual cues: symbols, marks, adornment and clothing.
The EYE is also the face of the character, which does not change dramatically from person to person despite all the other outward signs changing.
The EYE is all of them and a way of capturing and fixing them in my mind’s eye. As an Indian would say, “Namaste.”
Finally, the EYE is a … pun.
Each of these 11 illustrations captures one identity: from the Rajasthani woman in her embroidered headscarf to the Muslim merchant with his beard and skullcap; the Hindu priest with his caste mark to the Sikh with his turban; the dreadlocked Sadhu to the Hallaki tribal girl with her many necklaces; the schoolgirl in uniform, the dancer with her graceful hand movements, the bride with mehndi, the traditional South Indian woman with her plaited hair. Not to mention the ubiquitous stray dog.
I represented eleven of them which is a very small portion of the Indian diversity an richness.
THE SIKH – He is represented with a beard and his turban.
THE MUSLIM – Muslim men can be identified thanks to their beard and topi.
THE RAJASTHANI WOMAN – She has long earrings, a headscarf ornamented with Rajasthani embroidered mirrors and a nose piercing.
THE SADHU – Represented with messy dreadlocks, the position of is hands is characteristic of sadhu and he is holding necklaces.
THE INDIAN BRIDE – She has her hair plaited, henna on her feet, a huge nose piecing and a multi-strand tikka.
THE HINDU PRIEST – He is represented with a characteristic hair style, the three stripes and his necklace.
THE STRAY DOG – In India, veterinarians cut the ear of stray dogs when they get vaccinated. He has a broken leg and a necklace around his heart.
HALLAKI WOMAN – Hallaki is a trip from Gokarna, in Karnataka. They wear a short dress with doesn’t cover their shoulders. They have also multiples necklace.
A SOUTH INDIAN WOMAN – She has plaited hair ornamented with flowers, and wears earrings which are typical of south India.
THE KERALA DANCER – She has a bun falling on one side, we can guess the line of a sari on her shoulder. Her jewellery as well as the position of her hand is also characteristic of the Kerala dancer.
THE SCHOOL GIRL – She has a folded plait and she is wearing a dupatta from which we can guess the pattern of her school uniform.