A new magazine launched by British-Indian journalist Debika Ray reflects on the diversity and cultural phenomena of South Asia, and the spread of its influence worldwide. Focusing on India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan, as well as its vast global diaspora, Clove covers everything from art, film, photography, design and music to political, architectural and culinary movements.
The inaugural issue, themed Shifting the Lens, features never-before-seen photos by Juergen Teller – part of a series taken in Kolkata, India – alongside a candid interview with the photographer. There’s also an interview with Bibi Russell, one of the first South Asian models to capture the attention of Western haute couture in the 1970s; and a feature examining the convergence of local and international forces in Bangladesh’s architectural landscape.
Its cover story looks at the Nepal Picture Library project, which has collected over 52,000 photographs to document an inclusive visual history of Nepali people. Other articles consider the politics of tea, the evolution of the sari and Himalayan cuisine.
“There is a significant community of intelligent, culturally engaged people around the world with some sort of connection to or interest in South Asia,” says Debika. “I am determined to provide a platform for the stories and personalities emerging from and shaping this fascinating, rapidly changing part of the world, as well as exploring how the region’s people and culture are influencing the global conversation.”
Not only is the Asian subcontinent home to almost a quarter of the world’s population, Debika says, but its diaspora is spread far across the globe. There are more than 30 million people of Indian origin alone living outside the country, while three million people of South Asian origin live in the UK, making up 4.9% of the country’s population. In turn, Clove hopes to “turn a lens on the cultural forces shaping a rapidly changing region and its relationship with the world”.
Clove is art directed by Simon Kühn, who is also art director of Courier, with consultancy from Icon art director Anja Wohlstrom.