Designed by Bombay Duck Designs and produced by Tandel Fund of Archives and published by TARQ, Visual artist Parag Tandel’s book is an ode to the rich culinary legacy of the Koli community.
Being an intriguing piece of cultural archive as well as a multi-contextual design marvel, the book is an artistic attempt at the preservation of traditional recipes in the face of urban encroachment and ecological challenges.
Collaborating closely with the women of the Chendani fishing village, Tandel painstakingly documented 13 hand-written heirloom recipes, accompanied by evocative drawings and poems, all penned in the native Koli language.
The limited edition book, a veritable collector’s item, masterfully echoes the colour palette, form and design of traditional government office folders, adding a touch of archival authenticity to its essence. Each page showcases the intricate cultural narrative of the Koli community, highlighting the significance of sustainable food practices and the urgent need for cultural conservation.
The book serves as an immersive glimpse of Mumbai’s indigenous food culture. With its delicately crafted blend of art, history, and tradition. Native from the Chendani village pen recipes that are no longer part of Koli cuisine as they compile their manuscript of lost recipes.
Operating as an interface between the community and the city, TFA positions itself as a pop-up museum. It is a repository and the voice of 500,000 Kolis inhabiting over 240 Koliwadas in Mumbai. Memories once forgotten that now exist as fables are being reconstructed. Personal stories can find shelter.
The Kolis themselves are both subjects and protagonists of the archive, which mirrors the matriarchal nature of the community. Placed at the forefront of that archive, women steer the city’s fishing industry, supplying fish and running the markets and their households.