Pride and Design: A Conversation with Shubham Bose Roy (Part 2)
"Due to some reasons, I had stepped away from designing for DQP in 2014. But in 2015, people wanted me back.
The designs I was doing were purely visual. Because I was approaching this now as “How do you assert your existence until you exist nonchalantly?” If someone tells you - “Oh you’re not allowed to exist” (referring to the Supreme Court’s decision to the reinstate section 377), and you react to it, you’re telling them, “You have the power to affect me – to control me!” But if you just ignore it, and continue doing what you were doing before, that “invisible-ises” that power. I tried to reflect that in my designs as well – I was not going to get down into the nitty gritty of the issue. The context, at least in my head was, to establish DQP as a visual identity that was unmovable.
That year I tried cracking a concept which was Khajuraho inspired, but it never happened, because it was too complicated to execute. So I scratched the concept at the last minute, and created the 2015 design inspired from the Phulkari embroidery technique (a traditional embroidery design of Punjab).
It was back to 2012 as a design language, where you use mostly white as a base with graphics, which were now done in all six colours. It resonated quite well with almost everyone.
As a designer, our objective is to find a visual communication language – to create something that is not read, but understood. So, the purpose was to create visuals that communicated to a larger set of people and not just to a certain set of demographics who are used to reading graphics in a certain way.
All the intricate Phulkari patterns that were done on the posters were aesthetically very well received, and a lot of people told me that it was their favorite design out of all the designs that were done, because it was mostly artistic."
"By 2016 I had joined Pearl, and my work life went absolutely crazy!
By now I had started developing more intellectual concepts. So 2016’s concept, which I couldn’t really tell anyone, was that I tried to work with fluidity as a representation of the fluidity of sexuality and gender. So, the graphics that I played with had more to do with how fluid form interacts on a flat surface.
The only problem was that because I was so busy at the time, I couldn’t build a visual narrative around it. So, the concept is really just in my head - When I see it, I can visualise it, but I can’t narrate it to anybody.
The design was okay, but not my best."
“Pride completes a decade this year and it is important to emphasize the fact that we, the queer community, have been here, in spite of all odds.”
"Conceptually speaking, 2017 was my strongest yet. I strategised a much larger social-media visual campaign for the 10th pride revolving around the symbol ‘X’. Although roman numerals do symbolise colonial nostalgia from one perspective, but on a simpler level, the shape ‘X’ is a cross mark (as opposed to a tick mark). It is universally used to denote that something is wrong, rejected, or denied.
“Things that we (the queer community) know we are entitled to have been denied to us for generations. This ‘X’ is to remind the world that we haven’t forgotten. We will wear these rejections on our sleeves and come out dancing in your streets, celebrating the long lives of struggles we have forged to survive. We are here to stay.”
And in turn, we shall reject. We reject all forms of oppression that stop us from fulfilling our existence. We reject your hatred, your anger, and your rejection of us. We reject the power you assume to decide how our existence can be trivialised and "invisible-ised" as a “minuscule” minority, and your sense of entitlement in controlling our personal identities. We reject your social structures that systemically alienate us.
Instead, we invite you to talk to us. Understand us. And perhaps, together we can re-imagine a new social order that undoes all the wrongs that mercilessly infect our present.
Unfortunately, the design couldn’t be executed as strategised. We didn’t even have a DQP pride banner this year. Instead, all that could be seen in Tolstoy Marg was a large crowd of people, and the Rainbow. One of the main functions of design is to draw attention to something. However, I believe that the Rainbow symbol is powerful enough to bring thousands of people together and spark in them the feeling of Pride."
All designs and artworks featured in this series have been created by Shubham Bose Roy. Shubham is a Delhi based design consultant and illustrator who is currently working as an Assistant Professor at Pearl Academy. You can see more of Shubham's work at - https://www.behance.net/shubhamboseroy