If you were to ask me to define art, I’d concede, mainly because I think of myself inept in describing such an entity with words. However, I can point to a work of art – a painting, a photo or a design and say “well, this is art”. Admittedly, I am somewhat ignorant with regards to what exactly is art, but I revere art for how it communicates the thoughts of one mind to another. The architect gives form to a concept and the viewer perceives it from their viewpoint. This past week, the prospective photographers and designers of the country were provided the portrait to present their ideas and thoughts by means of IEEE’s national competition. A contest that required competitors to submit their works for evaluation. The theme “anything with wheels” may seem as something limiting to the participants imagination, but wheels are said to be the world’s first invention, and have flourished in design throughout history from the simplest of structures to intricate machinery. If anything the theme was a test of creativity for the contestants.

Whether it was the photograph category or the poster, the submissions didn’t disappoint. Although the competition wasn’t of an extremely high caliber, it was still a nationwide contest with qualified judges as evaluators. Naturally, the quality of the submissions were of a high standard. With art, it is particularly difficult to determine how one piece of work tops the other. Each specimen is unique in its own way, and the judges must have been trapped in the dilemma of deciding that one submission was better than the rest , and that therefore the rest were lacking in something. Perhaps their work was made easier by the fact that each submission required a description to be submitted as well which would serve as context to the photo, and accordingly the photographs or designs could be judged by how well they depicted their message. After the period of submission was over and the subsequent period of evaluation had also commenced, one winner for each, photographs and posters were chosen, and their works were quite eye-catching.

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Having a look at the winner of the photography category:

 “In this picture, the bicycle depicts the common man and its shadow, the part of the common man he has hidden from himself due to disbelief and lack of faith and so it only drags on with him as a burden, stretching on as the sun of life sets. We all deal with vulnerability, uncertainty, and failure but what differentiates us is our level of belief in ourselves. The biggest division between successful people and unsuccessful people isn’t due to intelligence or opportunity or resources. It’s the belief that they can make their goals happen while we only cower. The greatest force which stops us from rising above is our lack of ambition, and ambition is believing in yourself when no one else does. When you find yourself on the side of the majority, doing what everybody else is doing, leading the same life as everyone else, that is the time to pause and reflect. That is the time to improve and that is the time to develop faith in yourself and say “Yes I can do it!”. From thereon no matter nor might can stop you from achieving your dreams.”

A profound caption with a picture that communicates strong emotions. It is quite self-explanatory why this submission was more appealing to the judges than the rest. The picture is quite vague and ambiguous, however, it transmits something heartfelt with the sunset in its context and the lonely bicycle in the absolute centre. A very simple view that you encounter everyday but its true beauty is revealed when you capture it in a still frame.

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Moving on to the winner of the design category:

“How big is the responsibility and how delicate is the process behind keeping a craft alive? Let alone making the delicate threads and bringing color to them is a tough job, and curiosity doesn’t die here, but moves on with the urge to create stitching techniques and products. Perfection always has to do with details. We praise those eyes and hands who have never failed the craft and let us believe in the power of colors.”

The winner mentions her admiration and appreciation for how hand weaving and stitching has brought life to the cultural clothing and products found in our society. This is beautifully illustrated by the digital poster where a woman in traditional clothing threads together the various crafts present in the frame. The calmness on the woman’s face, the spindle with the thread woven round it and the thread going through the crafter’s arms to the intricately woven embroidery shows the subtleness that the artist has hinted to.

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IEEE-Seecs has been a technical society since its inception, but with projects like these it has occasionally ventured into exploring new things. The best thing to take away from this is to realize the importance of innovation and perception. The advances in technology throughout the past have come from those who could visualize the concepts that had remained concealed, and no matter how much we unearth there is always so much that we don’t know.

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