Popcorn tubs at Chennai’s Sathyam get a makeover with the help of the differently abled

The makeover is an effort to promote the awesome work of the differently abled artists.
Popcorn tubs at Chennai’s Sathyam get a makeover with the help of the differently abled
Popcorn tubs at Chennai’s Sathyam get a makeover with the help of the differently abled
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Moviegoers in Chennai are in for a pleasant surprise as SPI Cinemas, commonly known as Sathyam, have redesigned their popcorn tubs to feature art created by differently abled persons.

The Differently Designed initiative, born out of a partnership with Kai Rassi and Rubecon, collaborated with SPI Cinemas to create these popcorn tubs. The art is designed by differently abled persons who work with Kai Rassi, an organisation that works to showcase their talents.

“We thought design would be a great way to promote the work of these artists. This also helps them expand their reach as creators, moving beyond the sale of paintings,” said Indira Reddy of Kai Rassi.

Indira, a psychologist, has a background in working with children with special needs. She is thrilled about the visibility the artists are getting.

The artists come from Chennai, Pondicherry and Dubai. One of them is forty-five-year-old Narasimhalu, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. His landscape work of snow-capped mountains in light blue and white hues has been done entirely by foot and adorns these popcorn tubs. The mountains, Indira said, are by far the most popular design.

L - R: Indira Reddy, Preetha Ramaswamy and Kadambari Narendran of Kai Rassi

Sathyam narrowed down the designs presented by Kai Rassi and have picked four designs that they have applied across various sizes of their popcorn tubs.

For example, ‘Mothers’, a painting by Anjana, now adorns the tub of Sathyam’s small popcorn. Anjana, who lives in Dubai, was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. She specializes in Madhubani and Warli art.

Swami, 30, was diagnosed with autism as a child. His abstract portrait of Nehru - a sketch reflective of how he sees the world, capturing them in their rawest sense, enhancing their physical features with prominent lines and circles - is now on the medium-sized popcorn tubs.

Zach of Rubecon, the creative agency behind the partnership tells TNM, “This art to us is pure and unfettered by conventional education and we immediately thought of how much we can play with this. We were involved in finding the design elasticity of these artworks to use them in popcorn tubs and other merchandise.”

Zach believes it’s important for designers to work with social initiatives like this.

“Instead of limiting it to a calendar or an exhibit, we wanted to take the conversation further,” he said.

Zach insisted that it was important to maintain the soul of the original artwork. “We don’t want to tamper with the art. We want to transfer the artists’ strokes just as they are and retain their expressionistic depth.”

The idea for the initiative came from Bhavesh, the Head of Experience at SPI Cinemas who came across something similar in Barcelona.  He encountered an organisation that brought design students and kids who are differently abled together, where the children's art was converted into labels and packaging by the design students.

"We keep talking about being inclusive. But we're already so far behind. So we thought we should make design inclusive as well. And the reason we chose the popcorn tub is because of the huge visibility factor," Bhavesh told TNM.

Preetha Ramaswamy, a volunteer at Kai Rassi and instrumental to the collaboration says, “SPI has been making the push to be inclusive as a brand and we thought this would be a great coming together for the visibility of these artists. We hope this inspires other brands as well.”

“This is a refreshing change from the plain white tubs. I think it’s very cool. This is the first time I’m seeing something like this,” said a patron at Sathyam.

Sathyam has also displayed the works of artists working with Kai Rassi at their outlet on Whites Road.

To support the artists at Kai Rassi, please go to www.kairassi.com

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