In June, I was fortunate enough to see Jasleen Kaur's Royal College of Art graduate show.
It was found it intelligent, innovative, smart ...... and extremely thought provoking!!!!
I was particularly intrigued with her installation "Tools for Living." Branded "britesh made" with a well-designed logo, the project "explores how cultures continually evolve and adapt to new environments wilst keeping their traditions and subtle habits." This series of re-configured objects represent the melding of two cultures ...... blending them, rather than obliterating one or the other. They are displayed on brackets attached to pegboards, giving the illusion of being for sale in a hardware shop ....... a reference to her great granddad's peddling from door to door, and her family's current business.
Jasleen's project relates to her great granddad's move to Britan in 1950, referring to how he acclimated to living in the U.K., while continuing to honor his Indian culture. Her relationship and connection with him are also part of the project. Her "utensils," re-formulated from two distinct objects, are symbols of binding the two traditions and cultures. A prime example is the everyday stainless steel curry tray's (thaali) that are subtly changed with the addition of silver handles ........ Indian functionality joins traditional English formality.
"He made a living from pushing a homemade cart from door to door selling goods or spotting construction sites from afar and turning up to see if there were any jobs going. He dressed like a real gentleman, like one of those proud to be British types, with a well kept moustache and tweed hat (a modern replacement for his once traditional turban). He was an in-betweener, a hybrid of both Indian and British and in his undecided state, functioned beautifully in his new surroundings."
"The thing I observe and make are how I see my great granddad and myself Although constructed from many things, they just work. Because cutlery is not really used in Indian cusine I am making a series of "tools for living" that reference everyday habits rather than etiquette. They are built for how we do things, not for how we should do thing."
Jasleen's graduate project, "design as a cultural unifier," teaches us how generations adapt and evolve in new surroundings, while maintaining their cultural roots. Her great granddad's door-to-door business evolved into a chain of family-run hardware shops in Glasglow.