Before I go any further, I know there are people out there who are diehard fans of Coldplay and then there are those that are not so fond of their music. I respect both views which is why this post is not about their music, it’s about promoting our local talent!
Let me explain… Just a few days ago Coldplay, the British band, released a video for their new single ‘Hymn for the Weekend’. The song is big in terms of production values and collaborations. With Coldplay leading the way, the song also features Beyonce and Bollywood diva Sonam Kapoor (albeit for a fleeting moment).
The song has been shot completely in India, more precisely Mumbai (why in the world did they change the name? I so liked Bombay better!) and was immediately caught up in a heated cultural debate with people calling it a work of appropriation. As it was Coldplay’s video, they took the brunt of the criticism, but Beyonce was not spared and saw a backlash for her Indian wardrobe choices.
As amusing it was for me to see the debate swing like a pendulum, the silver lining, at least for us Pakistani’s, is that the video also contains work by our very own Samya Arif from Taxi Fabric. Why don’t I let her tweet explain:
“Yes that’s right … this is Chris Martin FROM Coldplay SITTING IN THE TAXI I DESIGNED FOR Taxi Fabric for their new video ‘Hymn for the weekend’ featuring Beyonce and Sonam Kapoor!!! ZOMGGG thank you Sanket Avlani & Taxi Fabric for changing my life for the best you guys!!! Xx”
Taxi Fabric, Samya Arif & Coldplay
The Taxi Fabric project is about creating a space for designers in Mumbai Taxis to show off their ideas and talent.
Samya was actually asked to come on board the Taxi Fabric project and design for Taxi Fabric’s Independence Day project. At this point she had no idea that her design would be used to adorn the taxi in a Coldplay video.
The video is set in Mumbai and sees Chris Martin travelling through the city in a taxi. This said taxi is adorned in art work by Samya Asif. The design is clearly visible in multiple snippets of the video, in fact the video begins with a shot of Chris Martin sitting in the back of the infamous taxi.
Samya herself, her friends and fans were delighted that her designs were reaching such heights and did not hold back their comments on twitter…
@mahamnasirr tweeted: The art you see on the inside of this taxi was designed by a Pakistani artist, Samya Arif. Too brilliant! #ahfod
@yumnna wrote: @samyarif taxi fabric illustrations in Coldplay’s new video. How cool is this.
There were also comments of appreciation from the inevitable Coldplay haters
@zainabmarvi said: Suffered through Coldplay’s new music video, only to watch Chris Martin singing in the taxi designed by @samyarif. Happy for her regardless!
Facebook was also loaded with love for Samya with multiple ‘WOWs’, ‘Amazing’, ‘OMGs’ and that one friend asking for a party (although party was spelt pappi :s)
The Design Itself
The art was not actually meant for the particular purpose it is garnering attention for. Samya designed the visually stunning artwork to symbolize peace between India and Pakistan.
“I was approached by Taxi Fabric to do a design for the upcoming independence days of both India and Pakistan. I based my designs on the idea that Indians and Pakistanis are essentially the same people, coming from similar roots and focusing on our commonalities and unique characteristics,” she wrote.
Samya was approached by Taxi Fabric and asked to design the ninth taxi in their series of design.
Her design is titled Monad, which means a single unit or entity and shows two women that are facing each other with their braids tied together and with a single one eye between them, showing unity and embodiment of a single spirit.
“Happy Independence day to us and our life-long neighbor and partner, India. It’s about time we come together and strengthen our love, we are the same,” says Samya’s Facebook post.
Although I watched the video for obvious reasons (read Beyonce :p ) I must say that Samya’s work does look impressive and gives a nice surreal feel to all the taxi scenes in the video. A thumbs up and three cheers for Samya!