internet culture

Valar Morghulis by paper cuts: An artist is re-imagining ‘Game of Thrones’ characters as Indians

On Parth Kothekar’s Instagram, the Khaleesi adjusts a sari palla on her head with a dragon baby on her shoulder.

While watching the latest season of the American TV series Game of Thrones, artist Parth Kothekar couldn’t help but notice how much the on-screen characters looked like Indians. The 26-year-old pulled out some paper and a knife and got to work.

In the paper-cuttings, Kothekar’s characters retain the details that author George RR Martin endowed them with in his literary creation, A Song of Fire and Ice. Jon Snow wears a feathered turban, Arya Stark hides her sword, Needle, in the folds of her sari and the Khaleesi pulls a sari palla over her head while balancing a baby dragon on her shoulder.

Kothekar’s paper art involves making delicate and precise cuts on a thick sheet of white paper. This art of depicting silhouette and stencil forms originated in China and made its way to different countries, where it adapted to different cultural styles – kirigami in Japan, papel picado in Mexico and sanjhi in India.

Kothekar began paper-cutting almost four years ago while working on a graffiti stencil. “It takes a steady hand to create paper-cuts,” he said. “I had enough practice in controlling my hands during delicate work thanks to my experience cutting out stencils. It was the idea of reversing the stencil that made me curious.”

The Ahmedabad-based artist has over 13,000 followers on Instagram and regularly posts pictures of his creations online. His latest features a paper cut Tyrion Lannister in a dhoti-kurta and a stole.

Kothekar said each creation is a gamble: “Before I start creating an artwork I have an image in my mind but even I’m unsure of what it’s going to look like in the end. I sketch on a white paper, cut out the artwork and then paint it black. To be honest even my jaw drops at times, there are no words to describe my satisfaction in that moment when I successfully create what I set out to make.”

Once a student of animation, Kothekar dropped out of the institute he had enrolled in because its focus was on 3D-animation while, as he realised, his interest lay in an older 2D form.

Since the first season of the wildly popular Game of Thrones, the show has inspired posts that imagine who would play its characters in a Bollywood remake, or spoofs about how the characters would react to certain situations if they were in an Indian film. Kothekar focuses on the costumes.

“I felt like that was the most visible aspect of Game of Thrones – the period costumes, jewellery, footwear,” he said.

Even the Night King’s horse is decked up in a way that suggests he is on his way to attend an Indian wedding.

Another one of Kothekar’s previous series reimagined the Indian sari-wearing woman as a mermaid. In these images, the swish of a mermaid’s tail and the gentle flow of the sari melded together to bring out the beauty of the female form.

“Since childhood I have seen my mother in sari,” he said, explaining the inspiration behind the series. “What fascinates me is the fact that this meticulous yet complex appearing piece of clothing is nothing but a single, long drape and women carry it with such elegance.”

Since his first exhibition in 2013, at the Kanoria Centre for Arts in Ahmedabad, Kothekar’s work has found appreciation in the Indian art world, but not many buyers. Most of his customers, he said, order paper-cut art from the US. His works are available on the US-based e-commerce website Etsy, where each one is priced between Rs 2,500 to Rs 6,000.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

A special shade of blue inspired these musicians to create a musical piece

Thanks to an interesting neurological condition called synesthesia.

On certain forums on the Internet, heated discussions revolve around the colour of number 9 or the sound of strawberry cupcake. And most forum members mount a passionate defence of their points of view on these topics. These posts provide insight into a lesser known, but well-documented, sensory condition called synesthesia - simply described as the cross wiring of the senses.

Synesthetes can ‘see’ music, ‘taste’ paintings, ‘hear’ emotions...and experience other sensory combinations based on their type. If this seems confusing, just pay some attention to our everyday language. It’s riddled with synesthesia-like metaphors - ‘to go green with envy’, ‘to leave a bad taste in one’s mouth’, ‘loud colours’, ‘sweet smells’ and so on.

Synesthesia is a deeply individual experience for those who have it and differs from person to person. About 80 different types of synesthesia have been discovered so far. Some synesthetes even have multiple types, making their inner experience far richer than most can imagine.

Most synesthetes vehemently maintain that they don’t consider their synesthesia to be problem that needs to be fixed. Indeed, synesthesia isn’t classified as a disorder, but only a neurological condition - one that scientists say may even confer cognitive benefits, chief among them being a heightened sense of creativity.

Pop culture has celebrated synesthetic minds for centuries. Synesthetic musicians, writers, artists and even scientists have produced a body of work that still inspires. Indeed, synesthetes often gravitate towards the arts. Eduardo is a Canadian violinist who has synesthesia. He’s, in fact, so obsessed with it that he even went on to do a doctoral thesis on the subject. Eduardo has also authored a children’s book meant to encourage latent creativity, and synesthesia, in children.

Litsa, a British violinist, sees splashes of paint when she hears music. For her, the note G is green; she can’t separate the two. She considers synesthesia to be a fundamental part of her vocation. Samara echoes the sentiment. A talented cellist from London, Samara can’t quite quantify the effect of synesthesia on her music, for she has never known a life without it. Like most synesthetes, the discovery of synesthesia for Samara was really the realisation that other people didn’t experience the world the way she did.

Eduardo, Litsa and Samara got together to make music guided by their synesthesia. They were invited by Maruti NEXA to interpret their new automotive colour - NEXA Blue. The signature shade represents the brand’s spirit of innovation and draws on the legacy of blue as the colour that has inspired innovation and creativity in art, science and culture for centuries.

Each musician, like a true synesthete, came up with a different note to represent the colour. NEXA roped in Indraneel, a composer, to tie these notes together into a harmonious composition. The video below shows how Sound of NEXA Blue was conceived.

Play

You can watch Eduardo, Litsa and Samara play the entire Sound of NEXA Blue composition in the video below.

Play

To know more about NEXA Blue and how the brand constantly strives to bring something exclusive and innovative to its customers, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of NEXA and not by the Scroll editorial team.