A box for life's memories

Updated: Oct 27, 2019, 07:36 IST | Nasrin Modak Siddiqi |

Inspired by a legend of the sea, this toymaker-artist gleans from your hopes and journeys to create a customised memoir box

Girl of Abundance
Girl of Abundance

Her introduction to us as a toymaker is intriguing. But then filmmaker and artist Ruchi Bakshi Sharma works with a variety of media, ranging from optical toys, animating wonderturns, lenticulars to jointed paper puppets, zines and illustrated puzzles. "My aim is to explore the nature of perception. Play and motion are dominant elements in my work," she says, highlighting the character of another of her creations, the shadow box.

artRuchi Bakshi Sharma

"A shadow box is like a personal shrine, a three-dimensional assemblage displaying treasured and meaningful drawings, made to create rabbit holes inside everyday reality," Sharma explains. According to the legend of the sea, it was considered bad luck for a sailor’s shadow to touch land before his body did. "Other sailors would create a shadowbox for the departing sailor, which would contain the sailor’s ‘shadow’ until he was safely ashore. Since I am drawn to exploring personal history through dreamlike imagery, this form became a way of memory-keeping, allowing me to escape inside story worlds. The central characters in these boxes play mediators between humans and the spirit, quietly witnessing the push and pull of their lives with instinctual wisdom. The stories they tell are often allegorical."

artEquanimity

And so, Sharma is approached to create shadow boxes as special personalised gifts to either themselves or loved ones. "I explore the subject with them over time, asking them about their family’s journey, thoughts, hopes and ideals, often looking at the individual through the lens of their collective history. Then I set out to illustrate their stories and learnings into dreamy dioramas," adds Sharma.

artForest of Mushrooms

An alumnus of the National Institute of Design where she studied Communication Design, Sharma has directed award-winning live action and stop-motion shorts. She has also taught design fundamentals and expressionistic film language courses at Xavier Institute of Communication, Parsons ISDI Mumbai and Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology.

Where: www.ruchibakshi sharma.com
For: The shadow boxes are priced from Rs7500 to Rs25000. Sharma also makes giant ones that could cost a few lakhs

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