February 4, 2015

Shilo Shiv Suleman, the fearless feminine

By Anusha Narayanan

Shilo Shiv Suleman is an artist, designer and illustrator who leads multiple lives as a traveller, a writer and a spiritual gypsy, all in a single lifetime. From school in the vast greens of Rishi Valley School near Bangalore, to studying design, giving a TED talk and traveling the world as an INK Fellow, her journey has been expansive. We followed her trail, after seeing her in action in Ahmedabad for her Fearless series and got to talk to this outlandish creative about her story.

Shilo’s mother, Nilofer Suleman, is a renowned artist based in Bangalore. Nilofer’s work draws inspiration from the unseen side of metros and has a strong Indian undertone blending poster art, street-side signages and traditional fine art together. “Each piece she makes takes about a month, it has such proportions and intricate details. Whereas I work on walls, murals, surfaces, installations, paper, digital – anything but a canvas. But there was always lots and lots of art at home.” Shilo’s work ranges from street art to a sophisticated intersection between technology and art, which brings the thrill of storytelling to digital – around two major themes Art & Technology and Art & Social Change.

The Legend of Battuchara2_Ahmedabad_fearless The Legend of Battuchara_Ahmedabad_fearless           ‘I am more than my body’ – the legend of Batuuchara (Ahmedabad)

With the Fearless Collective, Shilo travelled across the country, painting walls to advocate against rising sexual violation of women in the country. Fearless was triggered by the 2012 Delhi Gang-rape protests near India Gate. ‘Nirbhaya’ – as the victim was referred to – means Fearless, and thus the name of her series. “I was raised by a single mother, therefore I never doubted the power of women. But just being there [during the protests] that day made me want to contribute to the rising social movement, in a bigger manner. After all, isn’t art about advocacy too?” she says firmly.

It began as a poster collective of visual artists, filmmakers, street artists, photographers and activists following which it has flourished, combining street art and the feminist movement, emphasising a common goal: the need to reclaim one’s right to public space. As part of Fearless, a series of immersive workshops have been organised among various groups of women across the country talking about personal and cultural narratives on walls.

Fearless_Delhi_Nazar 1 Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset    “Buri Nazar Waale, Dil se Dekho, Aankho se Nahi”- Fearless in Delhi

Rishi Valley School, is 20 kms south of Bangalore in a tranquil 140 acre campus surrounded by lakes and ancient Banyan trees. “The experience was rather surreal. Like sitting in the middle of a bamboo grove or next to a stream to paint; it made me connect with the universe on multiple levels. College was quite the opposite environment. I went to Srishti in Bangalore, and studying design was the other end of the spectrum, which was also good”, she says. A major transformation in her life came about when she was 16, when she attempted to rediscover her childhood. Illustrating children’s books became her window to escape into a wonderland where enchanting things could still exist then. She illustrated her first children’s book at 16.

 Children's Books 2

Children's Books 1     Illustrations for children’s books

Shilo was supposed to be involved in the animation department during her days in Srishti but found herself rather attracted to interdisciplinary design, so she did a whole series merging technology and design in her two years of specialisation, which led to Khoya. Khoya, her first attempt at tying digital to art, is a game designed for the iPad which interacts with children, making them travel to places, finish tasks and unravel stories in the process. “I still am not an expert in handling programming but I understand the basics after Khoya. I have been a techno-phobe for most of my life, but with Khoya, it was about facing my fears by diving straight into the deep end”, Shilo tells us. Khoya was launched in 2012, it won multiple awards and was among the highly rated apps for iPad.

On a recent visit to New York she met a neuroscientist and her interest in bio-feed technologies piqued. She started to explore the confluence of technologies used in medicine with art to create work that people respond to on an emotional and scientific level exposing the inner workings of the human brain. This gave birth to Pulse and Bloom, an installation designed for the Burning Man festival 2014.

Pulse and Bloom is a 50-feet wide oasis of lotus flowers floating on stems embedded with pulse sensors that sync the ‘breathing’ of the lotus with the heartbeat of those who touch it. “People who spend a lot of time with each other, especially people who are in a long-term relationship: their hearts start to sync into one rhythm. So when you’re heartbroken, it literally means your heart loses the part which is the other person’s beat. When you create a visual projection of an internal unseen process, it is beautiful to see couples who sit there, breathe together, look into each other’s eyes. You can actually SEE their hearts syncing up and beating in time with each other which is beautiful. It also gives you a visual reference to control it.” Pulse and Bloom was brought to India during NH7 Weekender as well.

Pulse and Bloom (Day)

Pulse and Bloom (Night)Pulse and Bloom at the Burning Man festival.

There are exciting things in the pipeline when it comes to Shilo’s experiments, including an app called Sunlight which syncs the growth of a plant with your brainwaves when you meditate using brainwave readers, or another where a Lotus blooms as one meditates. There are also a series of artworks which she created using breath-sensors, that react to a person’s breath, forcing you to breathe slowly and deeper as you can see the results it creates. “We need beauty in technology in general. Thoughts like, what happens when architects start working with illustrators? Collaborations are always interesting, and they open and reorient your mind to different worlds, ideas and stories. And I constantly search for interdisciplinary work,” says Shilo as our conversation draws to an end.

Check out Shilo’s new website, to open her many boxes of experiments.eisa recovery торрентскрыть ip адрес на андроидkombohacker 4 ghost код активациипрограмма взлома одноклассников скачатькак восстановить файлы с диска dvd

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1 Comment




    Dear Shilo,

    I happen to see your details from Indian Express Indulge. I am with Teach for India a NGO and working as a Grade 3 Teacher in a low income Kannada Medium School at White Field, Bangalore.

    Me and the School Principal are keen to get 4 of our class rooms painted with paintings which will make the class rooms lively, print rich and content rich for the students.

    The objective is that these children must find the class rooms a welcome and also learn visually.

    I am not sure if your scope will include such requests. Appreciate if you can guide me in this regard. Also share it with your friends who can help us.

    Kind Regards,
    Rajesh Krishnan

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