A warm setting, a hot cup of tea and scintillating conversation over contemporary design, art, life and education dominated the Mumbai Chapter of Pearl Academy’s offline conversation. Driven by the idea of learning together, the discussion centred around became a space for practices in the contemporary ecosystem. ‘The Komorebi Talks’ became a space for sharing work ranging from photography, poetry and other forms.
“Komorebi Talks focused around revisiting the hidden beauty in small things,” explained Kiran Dalal, Faculty from Foundation Mumbai who curated the conversation. The participants were invited to share their memories, stories, write-ups and interesting reads during this session. This conversation featured five segments: Birds of a Feather, The Little Thing Book, Unseen Powai, Kahani Sun Lo & At a Moment’s Notice.

An untranslatable Japanese word, Komorebi captures the effect of sunlight streaming through leaves of trees. The subsequent shadow formed on the ground describes everyday beauty. So, what is in that moment in noticing the beauty of ordinary or seemingly mundane things? What’s the value in it? Are they just subjective emotions or are they interesting for everyone? Do they happen to each of us, everyday? This conversation raised these questions and more while having a critical and engaging conversation.

“We tend to have a mechanical approach to things, considering our fast-paced lives today,” explained Kiran. “This conversation was an informal ‘stoppage’ which encouraged everyone to appreciate the beauty of life, art, design in small and often overlooked things of life. The idea was to have a mindful, heartfelt learning experience which can be a trickle-down transformative approach for our young and talented learners.”
The first segment ‘Birds of a Feather’ was hosted by Kavita Faterpekar from School of Design. Referring to the flying formation patterns of birds, Kavita emphasized the significance of a ‘support system’ and collaboration by drawing parallels with how faculty can support each other’s learning and experience.

“The murmuration in birds offers an interesting insight into collaboration. By flying together, the birds can decrease the wind resistance caused by air travel. They take turns being in the front and breaking the wind for the other birds to fly smoothly. Also, they group together for safety in a V-formation, keeping warm during the night and exchanging information, such as good feeding areas,” said Kavita. It’s an everyday phenomenon, with deep wisdom ingrained into it which highlights the concept of ‘living in the moment.’

‘The Little Thing Book’ segment dwelled on the beauty of small things in daily life. Sabbah Sharma, Faculty from Fashion, Styling and Image Design spoke about a student’s project that showcased a young learner’s perspective and their journey. Rajeev Kumar, Faculty Fashion Design took everyone into an emotional space as he shared his poetry on romance and relationships in ‘Kahani Sun Lo.’ Memories surfaced as the room listeners shared their experiences and thoughts on life and relationships.
Intangible emotions, differing perspectives and accepting change as a part of evolution manifested as Nandita Abraham, President Pearl Academy shared her experiences. “Life is about viewing the same thing from a different perspective. When my son’s first tooth erupted, it was a joyous moment in the family. But for me it was hard ‘letting go’ and to accept that he was growing up. The same development was being viewed from different perspectives,” said Ms Abraham.

In this backdrop, the importance of sustainable practices, changing ecology and the critical need to adapt to the changing ecosystem was highlighted by Sunil Mahajan, Faculty Communication Design. The segment ‘Unseen Powai’ mapped the depletion of the Powai landscape and green cover over the years by a photo-documentation. The last segment ‘At a Moment’s Notice’ encouraged the participants to share their experiences of the entire conversation via blank cards that were handed to all members. Everyone drew a beautiful moment they experienced in the past week.
“The segments were united by a common theme of how design/creative learning is an impactful, collaborative and communicative process. It is a combination of emotions, problem-solving, learning from our surroundings. It draws from experiences, memories, emotions in a contemporary setting where physical environment like nature, ecology create a greater emphasis for sustainability,” added Kiran.
The Komorebi Talks thus were a vantage point for introspection, learning and moving forward towards a promising design future.

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