Sargun Kaur, Japneet Kaur, and Biney Kaur are releasing their second collection of greeting cards. They came together to produce a line of Vaisakhi greeting cards a few months ago which you can read about here. Their Diwali Collection is available for purchase in the US, Canada, and UK. Visit www.neela.co for purchase.
What is the inspiration and/or meaning of the BANDHI CHHORH card?
The Bandhi Chhorh card is very special to us. We’ve grown up seeing various depictions of how with Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji’s kirpa, 52 imprisoned kings were granted freedom by holding on to the Chola of the King of Kings. We wanted to express that sentiment, of reaching out to Guru Sahib and how He is always there for us, ready to free us, whether it be physical imprisonment or that of our minds, emotions, soul. All we have to do is reach out. Working on this card also gave us the opportunity to research the actual Chola that Guru Sahib wore. Often times we just assume what is depicted in art as a given and we wanted to make some attempts at authenticity. After having (virtual) Darshan of the Chola Sahib, we decided that we had to try to be as close as possible to that and that’s what has truly driven this design. From pictures of the Chola to accounts of the torn and dirty clothing of the Rajay, we tried to focus on historical accuracy in addition to our own artistic interpretation. The direction for this card was inspired by the images and information found here, here, and here.
What do you plan on doing with the profits from these cards?
In light of recent events taking place in Punjab, building upon decades of human rights abuses, we will be donating part of the profits of the cards to Focus Punjab, a branch of Khalsa Aid, which allows the Sikh diaspora to directly contribute to and fund endeavors to uplift the people of Punjab. Learn more about Focus Punjab at www.focuspunjab.org.
How did you come up with the idea of making cards?
All three of us are ardent fans of the analog – journals, handwritten letters and cards, intricately wrapping gifts, crafting meals and desserts, writing poetry and prose (and really dramatic Instagram captions) – and put deliberate thought into particular aesthetics. Our personal experiences are so diverse and intersectional, and it’s always been a struggle to find sentiments which weren’t limited to only one facet of who we are. We are not just Sikhs, not just young women, not just brown children of immigrant parents – not just residents of the Bay Area, which has its own remarkable and distinct culture, not just fans of Harry Potter. We all have made our own cards and artwork in the past, and decided to make these cards not just for ourselves but anyone who might feel the way we do!
Do you have anything planned for the future?
We have a lot of things planned for the future. Until now, we’ve focused on two really specific occasions, but we love the idea of being able to express sentiments for everyday occasions according to our personal cultures as well – such as birthdays and congratulations – and also cards celebrating occasions such as Daylight Savings and Earth Day. Keep a look out for more cards, artwork, and many other types of products which we are incredibly excited about! Check out our website neela.co for updates!
What was the process like making these cards?
Long and crazy (but that’s expected with all three of us being perfectionists). We start with the excitement over blank canvases, move quickly to anxiety when we realize we are still learning the skills we need to make our art come to life, and cycle through fear of failure, anger at Photoshop and our computers, exhaustion and extreme hunger because we forego sleep and food, extreme joy when a pixel finally clicks into place, excitement when what we’re working on sparks new ideas for “next time”, pride when we receive good feedback from our closest friends, sadness when we have to give up on an idea or change direction, and ultimately a great sense of satisfaction (and sleep) when we’re at launch. Then excitement all over again when our work is well received!
Check out the latest Diwali Collection by Neela Collective out now on neela.co. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @NeelaCollective for updates!
Follow the creators on Twitter/Instagram:
Biney Kaur: @beingbiney
Sargun Kaur: @justsargs
Japneet Kaur: @thatkaur