Bhuli; A tale of two friends

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Not everyday does one find their creation sharing space with their favourite icon but then that’s the stuff dreams are made off, and that’s exactly what Tanya Kotnala and Tanya Singh’s illustration entitled Bhuli had in store for them.

Born and brought up in Dehradun, family friends for over a generation now, Tanya Kotnala and Tanya Singh shared more than just their first name. Despite different educational streams their goal to do something for their homeland got the dynamic girls onto a single platform with a mutual mission in mind.

Speaking to Newspost, Tanya Kotnala tells us, ‘When I returned to Uttarakhand after finishing my NIFT in 2015, I felt in terms of culture, the hill-state lacked a stage to showcase its multi-talent.  For us Bhuli is an ideology, a way of thinking to put Uttarakhand on the map of art and culture.

Initially what started as an inherent urge to make illustrations for research documents in college, got Tanya Kotnala come up with a colourful doodle of a pahadi girl whom she endearingly entitled Bhuli or ‘little sister’ in Garhwali which has since then become their mascot/logo for whatever project they undertake.

Tanya Singh, a nutritionist by profession has worked extensively on Women health with her book on breastfeeding carrying the Bhuli illustrations, she adds, ‘right now we want to focus on women development, women health, entrepreneurship and produce products that are upright for the market. We plan to give design solutions along with content which will help rural Uttarakhand and more so its women folk financially.”

Today Bhuli has grown in leaps and bounds working with government collaborations such as posters made for ‘International Breastfeeding Awareness Week’ were displayed at 19,000 Anganwadi Centers as well as initiatives under “First 1000 days” and Anemia too.

There have been ample self-initiated projects too, Bhuli Limited Edition calendars 2017 celebrates the essence of cultural diversity across India, series of Aipan style illustration series celebrating flora, fauna, food, art, craft & food culture of Uttarakhand as well as Bhuli 2018 calendar which unfolds the diverse cultural heritage of India through its ‘lesser known dances’. Tanya Kotnala tells us, “through these self-initiated projects, we try to generate revenue to fuel our future long-term goal that is to upgrade skills, bring development and innovation in existing products trying to make it attractive for the masses.”

The latest edition is SPACE BHULI where the duo are trying to identify and build spaces in Uttarakhand where women are able to express their thoughts and feelings with an assurance of being heard.

So while Bhuli might be just a few months old, she has already shared social media space with the wax model of George Clooney at the Madame Tussade museum in Amsterdam, been clicked under the Eiffel Tower in Paris while carrying a social message from her home-state.

Rest assured, with two passionate women behind her Bhuli is sure to be a globetrotter wearing the mantel of being a global pahadi with pride, as she undertakes her journey with her two mentors, onwards and beyond.