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Games look inspired by traditional Indian art

By Azera Rahman, IANS,

New Delhi : The colour palette is vibrant, modern. But look closely and the images of the 2010 Commonwealth Games for hoardings across Delhi, including sporting venues, will reveal traditional Indian art forms deftly woven into them.

For one, the pictograms of the Oct 3-14 Games have been inspired by the traditional Sanjhi art of Uttar Pradesh.

“The branding, the logo and the entire look of the Games have been designed keeping in mind global standards. But all with a traditional Indian touch. For instance, the pictograms are inspired by the Sanjhi art of Uttar Pradesh,” an official heading the Image and Look section of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee told IANS.

A pictogram is a graphic representation of a physical object. In this case, pictograms are used to identify a particular sport like boxing or swimming.

Sanjhi art on the other hand represents silhouette or stencil forms. The speciality of this art form is that it uses paper cuttings without previous sketching and the background is filled with bright colours. It is said this art form reached its pinnacle in Vrindavan and Lord Krishna’s beloved, Radha, used to paint the walls of her house with Sanjhi art to attract his attention.

“The pictograms of every sport had to look universal and our aim was to still give it an Indian touch. Therefore, it was seen how a particular sport can be depicted through Sanjhi and then that was adapted to meet global standards. The end result has been unique,” said the official who did not want to be named.

“Why Sanjhi? India has so many different art forms but not every art form would have suited our need. Madhubani, for instance, is more intricate and wouldn’t have served our purpose. The perfect boxing posture or something else could have been depicted only through Sanjhi and then adapted,” the official added.

The logo of the Commonwealth Games is inspired by the Ashoka Chakra.

“The logo is the most visible face of any games. The olive wreath was the logo for the Athens Olympics…therefore we decided that the Ashoka Chakra that symbolises India should be what the logo of the Games is inspired from,” the official said.

Therefore the Games logo – with 29 shades – is a spiralling rise of spokes, signifying India’s rise to super power.

Besides these, the various images of the Games that will go up on hoardings, banners, bridge panels and fence fabrics just three months before the Games in October, will also have Indian touches.

For instance, an imagery of the Qutub Minar or Lotus Temple or Indian patterns like the peacock will decorate the background of an image.

“We have been working on the image and look of the Games for the past two years. One may think that it’s no big deal and is just a permutation and combination of colours, but in reality a lot of planning goes behind each image. And then everything has to be approved by the Commonwealth Games Federation,” the official said.

As per guidelines, the colour palette used for branding and conjuring a particular look in a sporting event venue is very specific.

“For instance, you can’t have white boards in a badminton court venue because the players may get confused while looking out for the white shuttle. The hoardings can be of a particular size and colour,” the official added.

According to the official, the entire image and look in the venues – in sporting and non-sporting places – has an allocation of Rs.500 million.

“We have tied up with the Delhi government for signages across the city, outside the main venues. There will be larger than life cuttings of athletes – like that of a swimmer taking a dive – overarching roads and on bridge panels. There will also be colourful fence fabrics along long stretches of road,” the official said.

(Azera Rahman can be contacted at [email protected])