More than words

World Poetry Day Special: Kavi Poetry Art Project putting poems in poets’ souls and living spaces.


Inside each of us is a closet poet, with words or without.

Kavi founders – Soumya, Amit and Madhuri

That’s the belief which the founders of Kavi – The Poetry Art project, an initiative to make poetry come alive as art in living spaces, jive with. Being on the ‘write’ side of art … if paintings and pictures find a place up on your walls and workstations and soul spaces, why shouldn’t poems?

Started by a team of four last year in August, the Kavi team comprises of Soumya Mukerji, Madhuri Balodi, Amit Singh and Kalpana. Soumya and Madhuri write the poetry where as Amit Singh and Kalpana make the art works and visualise the poetry concept.

So how did the love for poems realize into an art project? Soumya said, “Poetry deserves to be seen, read and realized more in our day-to-day lives than only breathe in blogs, books, private journals and recitals. So we decided to bring poems from budding poets alive with visual concepts for living spaces.” They started with creating poetry-art from some of their own work and then sent out an open call for poems to be a part of this project. The response was quite positive with 543 poems from budding poets of all ages across different cities in the country, over a 100 collector queries and a dozen poem-art customization requests.

So how do these words find a place in different collectors’ pieces? She explains that each of the poems that they receive build some imagery with the words, for which they look for the right medium, colour and visual expression. “We turned a poem titled ‘Experimenting with the canvas’ into what we call a ‘Canverse’ – a verse etched on canvas, taking from the poem metaphorically”, Soumya said. Similarly A Hindi poem, ‘Sapnay’ was created into an upcycled wine bottle night lamp to ensure sweet dreams. The media or medium is kept as experimental as the concept itself that evolves and changes with each poem’s personality.

While a noble thought, does poetry on upcycled products become as immortalized than in printed books or digital form? Soumya says that the form or medium is not primary to the art.

She explains, “The only thing that immortalizes poetry is its everlasting, all-encompassing impact, the way it lingers on in all of our hearts, no matter the media. Some of the best poetry was spoken not written and passed on generations thereafter in scriptures, legends, anthologies, and documented only then. So the form is always secondary, in fact, it is the form that is most mortal not immortal – pages yellow and disintegrate and the digital form is way too virtual, too changing, too wide to grasp or enjoy as complete in itself. So another form, this time more real and tangible and more likely to be seen/read every day, right before your eyes in your living space and in complete colour and composition, doesn’t hurt. What’s more, glass (we make poem lamps from upcycled wine bottles) has a lifespan of 5000 years, which beats multiple imprints of books and all digital storage sustainability!”.

Kavi, at the end of the day, is an artists’ project more than just a commercial outlet for cool or kitsch products. Understanding a poet’s worth and struggle, they ensure that the poet earns his or her due royalty for the contribution. Soumya assures, “Unlike when they told you to study in school because “your poetry won’t pay”, we make sure it does as your words light up a collector’s room, workstation or other soul spaces.” They’ve also conducted workshops at Delhi University to promote poetry as alive, see-touch art and have displayed their work at festivals such as the Delhi Poetry Festival.

In an age where poetry is competing with popular prose and other digital media, the biggest obstacle, they think, in poetry as popular art is that people think it’s boring. She said, “People have the impression of poetry as long-winded, pretentious and self-indulgent even if they love a good poem or write one occasionally. The fact that a song with good lyrics is appreciated by all aproves that everyone’s a closet poet or poetry lover. This realization is the only way poetry will get ‘popular’ – that we all enjoy good poetry – in movies, songs, books, our own and our friends’ thoughts – and that it makes you live life in perspective.”

So whether you want to explore your poetic side by re-decorating your living space with words or by penning down your soul within, visit their Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/KaviThePoetryArtProject 


  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Makepeace is a freelance writer and a make believe selfie model. She formerly served as a Community Editor at The Alternative and now works with an international non profit in Bangalore. The only kind of marathons she loves are the ones on the idiot box. Follow her at @makeysitlhou more

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  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Makepeace is a freelance writer and a make believe selfie model. She formerly served as a Community Editor at The Alternative and now works with an international non profit in Bangalore. The only kind of marathons she loves are the ones on the idiot box. Follow her at @makeysitlhou more
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