Born in Nainital – a picturesque town in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas, Preetika feels a magical connection with the mountains. Brought up in a family of artists, mountaineers and photographers, her parents ensured that she was always well-connected to the mountains and the thick oak forest that surrounded her backyard. She started painting at a very early age, which came almost naturally to her as evoked by the desire to paint all the beauty that surrounded her.
What is Project Aipan, and what does it mean to you?
Project Aipan is a small effort to revive the slowly diminishing art & culture of Kumaon. The Art & Culture in the mountains is beautifully woven into the lives of the cheerful people that make them come alive. Traditionally “Aipan” is a form of art that is only done by women and is passed from mothers to their daughters. The hand painted geometric patterns adorn the wooden seats called “chaukis”, marking the various phases of life starting from birth. The lines depict continuity and the dots symbolise completeness which signify eternity. Aipan is drawn on walls and doorways to introduce positivity in life and ward off negativity.
When I think of my childhood spent in the hills, I am reminded of the pleasant mornings, the distant chatter of people, trees filled with red rhododendron blossoms, the cold red clay my mother mixed with water to create a canvas with rice paste drawn in intricate geometric patterns.
What motivates you to create?
“The places you consider home; the people you grow up with will always motivate you no matter where you go.” My parents, siblings, husband, friends and colleagues have inspired, encouraged and motivated me at various points in my life and continue to do so. I create because it gives me happiness and it is a way of expressing what I see and experience around me.
What inspired you to start this collaboration with us?
MATTER is unique – they have been able to seamlessly blend culture and thoughtful design together. This has inspired me to present a glimpse of my culture to the world – the values that are so difficult to communicate otherwise. I am truly inspired by their close collaboration with the local craftsmen and artisans in the communities they operate in. It has been a privilege and an amazing journey to have worked with such wonderful and talented people at Matter.
What does a modern nomad mean to you? Do you consider yourself a modern nomad?
A modern nomad is like a driftwood, constantly on the move but still connected to the river it flows in. I definitely consider myself a modern nomad! It has been a wonderful journey travelling around the world, learning about new cultures and traditions, but at the same time developing greater love and respect for my own culture. When we are constantly on the move, excited to explore uncharted territories, we are also constantly finding a home that we have left behind. Travelling gives meaning to our life and keeps us grounded and mindful of our roots.
What is your goal with the Kumaon Edition?
With my project I intend to create awareness about the art and culture of Kumaon. I intend to create dialogue, to make people aware of its existence and to inspire more people to work towards preserving it before it’s too late.
Preetika is wearing The Kumaon Edition + Mountain Spirit in Size 2.