Meet Delhi girl Shreya Katuri, a media student and journalist, who travels the length and breadth of India, collecting local matchboxes.
Yes, you heard it right. Matchboxes.
What started of as a college dissertation has now become a full fledged project, ‘Artonabox’ which studies Indian matchboxes and their labels in terms of Popular Culture and deconstructs then in terms of religion, nation and gender.
“It’s been really interesting to see how people around me have evolved from seeing matchboxes as something very ‘usual’ to an object with a value of a collectible,” laughs Shreya.
Shreya on her favourite matchboxes from her travels
Vishakapatnam: The Vizag pictures are my favorite because, honestly, they turned out to be the prettiest of all – with the local backdrops of a lighthouse, beach and sand. Read: A Dummy’s Guide To South East Asia’s Most Iconic Beaches
Varanasi: BHOLA from Varanasi made everyone laugh, but a little bit of research tells me that he was in fact, one of the biggest tobacco sellers in the city.
Bangalore: I got about 12 matchboxes, out of which at least 6-7 had cats – the city was clearly obsessed with them!
Kochi: This city gave me the ‘Agnos’ matchbox, which I thought was very exotic and unique. It wasn’t kitschy like the rest. Also, I found it next to the Jewish settlement area, call it a coincidence or not, it gelled with whole vibe! Read: Living on a houseboat in the Backwaters, Kerala
Gurgaon: Lastly, the Gurgaon one is special, for its illustration of a political leader and the colours used. It was symbolic of our system and the ideas associated with it, in more ways than one. Read: Why Every Beatles Fan Must Visit This Tiny Shop In Delhi