Matchbook is a collection of more than 500 striking Indian matchbox labels gathered by Shahid Datawala over the course of several decades, at once reminiscent of vintage Soviet propaganda in their visual language and of mid-century American travel posters in their vibrant colors, and yet entirely singular and culturally distinctive in overall sensibility. Designed as a large matchbox, complete with slipcase and striking edge, Matchbook is the first-ever collection of Indian matchbox labels. Curious and visually stunning, matchbox labels come in a staggering variety of designs. A well-established brand quickly spawns imitations and variations as small producers compete with the large in an anarchic marketplace. The book showcases almost one thousand colorful members of this extended family, including such brands as Cheetah Fight, Judo Deluxe, Tip Top, and New Shit. The introduction provides an insight into India’s complex match industry, where an unjust economy throws a shadow over the vibrant graphics it produces.
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