Today, the term Malayalam refers to the language that is spoken in the Indian state of Kerala. But go back in time and you will find that Malayalam was used to refer not just the language but also the land. Malayalam Desham.
Sources say that Malayalam probably originated from the word Mala (meaning hill) and illam (region), thus forming the word the ‘hill region’ and was used to refer to the land itself. And the language in this hill region was called Malayanama. Later, with the advent of printing technology, Malayalam became the standard term for the language.
Malayalam goes beyond the language tag and is probably the best representation of the land and people. From Travancore to Kochi to Malabar – you will find a curious mix of various cultures and people – all identifying with one another on the basis of being a Malayalee.
This asymmetrical balance is reflected in the Malayalam Project that brings together Malayalam typography and graphic/visual culture on the same platform.
While the written scripts are a narrative about from various popular publications, the style and the format in which it is presented speak volumes about the script. Techniques of printing and production allow a seemingly 2-dimensional script that was merely functional to take on characteristics beyond readability and become motifs for identity and expression.
The language boasts of having more than 50 alphabets, and various permutations and combinations can lead to more forms that can still stand as a single unit. All interesting nuances of the script portrayed to the viewer through Malayalam Project -a typographic tribute to Malayalam.
I can’t read Malayalam!
Does that stop you from coming to the Malayalam Project?
The project is also about the loopy, curvy forms that is sure to intrigue the art enthusiast in you irrespective of whether you can read it or not. And what is more, you as a non-reader of the Malayalam may be able to spot and appreciate the differences that native speakers of the language tend to overlook.
Art is probably the best medium that can transcend the language barrier – it helps you understand what the written script fails to communicate. The tactile nature of the medium is represented for dialogue & discourse.