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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Here Comes Santa

We asked artists to give Santa a new look this Christmas. Here is what they came up with


Updated: December 25, 2015 12:54:55 am
The Dark Santa is a creature of imagination and beyond, and it is the feral child who will show us the path to return to innocence that we are so nostalgic about. The Dark Santa is a creature of imagination and beyond, and it is the feral child who will show us the path to return to innocence that we are so nostalgic about.

Arjun Saluja (Fashion Designer)

There was a time when we believed in Santa and there were nights when we hoped he would come. In the mornings, we looked out for the half-eaten piece of ginger bread and half-finished glass of milk. Those were the days of faith.

So, we spent our days suspended between belief and disbelief. We carry some of the innocence to our future, which is corrupted by the ways of betrayals and death of faith. We hope. We always do, knowing perhaps that hope is our biggest enemy.

As a designer, I have learned to create stories with fabric and cuts. The Santa has evolved. I see him as a bearer of gifts that we seek because we are entangled and trapped in the abyss of what is modern life. I don’t look for half-eaten ginger cookies anymore but I want to believe that he will come through the gates of death, and into the graveyard of our lives and resurrect us, ones who are living in crisis of everyday woes. I see Santa defying gender as it is something we are trying to break free from.

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The Dark Santa is a creature of imagination and beyond, and it is the feral child who will show us the path to return to innocence that we are so nostalgic about. There is no conformity to gender. The Dark Santa rides a carriage dragged by a woman, which represents the oppression. As a society, we are dealing with rape and its dilemmas. Feminists are no longer demanding. Everything is a spectacle, and so the Dark Santa rides into the city of the dying and the despairing to redeem us. Everything is symbolic, and everything must change, including the narratives of mythical figures that formed the gift of hope. Santa must change too, and the red and the free must be replaced by the dark and the grimy.

In no way I mean to interfere with the innocence of belief and the hope of beauty. But we must not lead ourselves to delusions. A Dark Santa is not the reversal of innocence. It is more representative of our despair and our hope. The setting is Delhi, which has always inspired me to create, and in the night when there is smog and no snow, I sit by the glass window and see a dark figure emerge splitting what hangs around us and poisons us. The figure smiles and converses with me, and tells me there is hope, and with that hope I survive the thousand woes of this life. The Santa knows, and has crossed over. As the figure wanders around in the city, there are children of yesterday like us who want to understand, and survive. The figure represents our everything — hope, despair, addictions, and dilemmas. And in that bag, the figure carries the remedies. There is nothing material in the bag. Only ideas… to save us from death by the Internet, death by depression, death by betrayal… The figure is hope. Wasn’t Santa a carrier of hope always?

M Sayeed Alam (Theatre Director)

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It is time Santa Claus turned up in a black sherwani with a white churidar and a Maulana Azad cap. This is the most elegant and fashionable attire I can think of for him. The black sherwani has, unfortunately, come to be seen as an outfit of the Muslim elite but we forget that Pt Jawaharlal Nehru is identified with it as much as Maulana Azad. Maybe Santa can bring the black sherwani to the mainstream. My Santa would be fit, but not in a six-pack way. He would retain his traditional beard and moustache because I cannot modernise him to an extent that he loses his original identity. It is important that he does not wear the weird designer sherwani with kadhai and a crinkled dupatta. Designers have done the worst disservice to the sherwani. Santa’s sherwani will be simple and black — and secular.

Mohor Ray (Director, Codesign Brand Consultants)

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This Christmas, spare a thought for Santa who has to ride through smog-filled skies and hope he’s geared up for it.

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