This ‘Hyperlocal’ Collective Of Designers Makes Collectible Kathakali Playing Cards

This ‘Hyperlocal’ Collective Of Designers Makes Collectible Kathakali Playing Cards

  • 05 May 2017
  • Sunaya
  • Features

Luxury playing cards in Kathakali themes. Made in Kerala

If you’ve ever been to a Kathakali performance, you’d know the magic in its storytelling, the characters, the word play, the weaved visuals and age old traditions involved in the whole process. It’s something that we all carry long in our hearts, even after the performance ends. Kathakali has characterised Kerala to visitors and travellers. So how did it end up on collectible playing cards?

Kochi based Curiocity is an artist and designer collective that designs products with native themes and in contemporary style to bring out the essence of the place that is Kochi. When they brought out a collectible that can be souvenirs for tourists and collectors as well. Wkochi got in touch with the people behind the team to know more about the venture. 

Last week, they launched their latest work which was a deck of playing cards with Kathakali characters. The avant-garde concept was a result of more than a year’s study and research to integrate the culture of Kerala into a more mainstream parlance. All the elements on each of the cards were designed from scratch, including the illustrations, card symbols and the fonts used. The project was made possible through by crowdsourcing contributions through their close friends. 

Each Kathakali playing card has the description of the characters in English and in Malayalam as well. They were all painstakingly designed by the designers after several lengthy interactions with Kathakali exponents. Enclosed in an off-white, premium tuck case, shielded in gold foil. The card back design is printed with striking gold metallic ink. Made of the finest quality card paper in the world, the packaging is exquisite-with gold trellis pattern on an ivory paper. All in all, it’s a true collector’s item. 

The cards are truly works of art and worth the price as well. Currently they are available online and at a few select shops in and around Kochi as well like Pepper House, Aambal and the Kerala Folklore Museum. You can know more about the product and buy it online here.

“We’ve had a lot more buyers than we expected” said Collins Samuel, a member of the team, “Currently, more tourists and art collectors are our customers. We’ve been trying to steadily expand our market around places where art enthusiasts go to as well.”

The Kochi based team that runs Curiocity works with local themes, brands it and gives it an identity. They made the T-shirts for the #BeingMalayali campaign. “Our aim is to create a visual language for the people of the post-globalised era, to start talking in a language of identity. In the past we have designed products in themes such as Malayalam typography, anime, local sightings, cultural festivals, dance forms, architecture etc.” said Collins.

We can surely expect more exquisite and exclusive designs from this ‘Hyperlocal’ team of artists. But for now, maybe I’ll buy a mug or T-shirt from their online store, to bring out the ‘Malayali’ in me.

Text: Susmitha Suresh   Images:

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