On the occasion of India’s 77th Independence Day, Google dedicated its doodle to Indian art and textile as created by the talented Namrata Kumar. We talked to the artist and illustrator about the excitement of this unique collaboration and how she likes her work to be rooted in Indian culture.
The contemporary art scene in India is slowly burgeoning to become a vibrant one. Artists are dabbling with digital paint brushes, mixing digital with traditional mediums, all to create vibrant artworks that are at the heart of it, inspired by India. Amongst these game-changers is artist and illustrator Namrata Kumar who loves creating art using acrylic and oil pastels as well as digital paintings. A graduate of the Srishti School of Art and Design, Bangalore, Namrata Kumar has been creating artworks inspired by travel, people and culture all with a hint of the Indian landscape in the background. We talked to the artist about her global debut with the Google Doodle for India’s 77th Independence Day.
Artist Namrata Kumar on the Google Doodle celebrating India’s Independence Day:
Tell us a little about your background and your work.
Born and brought up in New Delhi, my hobbies as a kid were most things artsy and I was an out-and-out bookworm. I attended the Shri Ram School which was known for having a fantastic art department. This early introduction paved the road for my journey into the world of art and design. Moreover, I grew up in a household where art and design were a way of life. My mother is a textile design graduate from the National Institute of Design and runs her own business in textiles and garments. The inclination towards art and design was therefore almost inevitable and very natural. Following this trajectory, I pursued a degree in Visual Communication Design at The Srishti School of Art and Design in Bangalore. After completing my education, I worked as a graphic designer in New Delhi, amassing nearly 7-8 years of experience. However, my desire for a different creative path led me to begin my journey as an independent practitioner in 2017.
This marked the turning point where my passion for art and illustration began to take centre stage. Over time, almost organically, I honed a niche for myself in this arena. The transition felt like a natural progression, as my intrinsic affinity for artistic expression merged seamlessly with my professional pursuits.
How did the project with Google Doodle come about?
In the month of June, I received an exciting proposition from the Google Doodle team to create the artwork for Independence Day. Collaborating with an international team from Google Doodle, as well as with the Google India marketing team, we collectively arrived at the conclusion that paying homage to Indian textiles would be an apt tribute to the country. The Google Doodle team’s expertise and the insights from the Google India marketing team played a pivotal role in shaping the artwork into something that resonated with the audiences and captured the essence of Independent India.
What was the thought process behind the Google Doodle? Was there a pre-set moodboard or one you created?
Right from the outset, my goal was to focus on the incredible diversity that defines India. The notion of spotlighting India’s diverse textile traditions excited me almost immediately. Drawing from my personal experiences of growing up in an environment that was textile design-centric, this idea felt like a seamless fit. I decided to create a patchwork of textiles from different regions of India stitched together to create a vibrant fabric that would mirror India’s spirit of unity and pluralism. In these politically charged times, when governments in power choose to play politics of hate and division, I wanted to remind the audience that India’s diversity is what truly makes this country unique and special. The creative process was fluid and I was given complete freedom to visualise the artwork. The main steps included identifying textile craft forms that covered a broad spectrum of techniques encompassing embroidery, different weaving styles, resist dying techniques, printing techniques, hand-painted textiles etc. The next step was selecting textiles that covered the geographical expanse of India while also being visually engaging. Composing the patchwork so that each swatch would stand out while being balanced in the overall composition was a priority as was ensuring the colours were aesthetically pleasing and technically accurate.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
My visual language is best described as contemporary, rustic, and evocative. Rather than adhering to conventional straight lines and precise shapes, I tend to embrace imperfection and spontaneity as hallmarks of my work. This deliberate departure from uniformity infuses my creations with a distinctive character which is expressive and vivid, rather than being technically perfect. My approach to art is rooted in intuition, and I couple this instinctive connection with a deep understanding of colour. My work is designed to evoke more than just a visual response—it’s aimed at stirring a visceral reaction within the viewer. Every artwork is orchestrated to transport my audience to a specific place or a fleeting moment in time.
I feel most inspired when I travel. The act of stepping into new environments, and absorbing unfamiliar sights, sounds, colours, and smells, infuses me with vitality. This change in surroundings invigorates and empowers me, leading me to explore fresh perspectives and novel ways of perceiving the world around me. Ultimately, my goal is to invite my audience to embark on a sensory voyage of their own through the art that I create.
What role does India and its culture play in your designs?
One key unifying factor in many of my artworks is their intrinsic connection to India. India, in its essence, offers an extraordinary wealth of beauty that is both profound and multi-layered. This inherent complexity becomes a remarkable source of creative fuel for me, and when that gets translated into my artworks, the outcome is magical.
What inspires your artwork?
People, places, culture, art, design, textiles, jewellery, architecture, history, the natural world, the list goes on…
All Images: Courtesy Namrata Kumar.