“Motherland” is a monthly publication from W +K Publishing.  It’s a magazine that I did not know I had been waiting for.

The first issue is the August/September 2010 Volume 01 (ok, so I just got my hands on it!).  I came across the magazine by chance, but now it will be part of my habitual Indian reading list.  The theme for the first issue is “Freedom” and as you see from the cover below, no other person brings the words freedom and India together in the same sentence like Gandhi does.  The cover image is by Bharat Sikka.  This is perfectly apt for me considering my current project “SALT” referenced by the philosophies of Gandhi during the Salt March of 1930.

It’s an evocative name “Motherland”, especially for a British Indian like myself.  It connects to me on multiple levels, but it also does not give away too much until one begins to flick through the content.

The magazine is slim (72 pages), and printed on matt stock paper.  It is lovely to handle.  The pages shuffle comfortably, and the lightweight makes it an ideal companion on long train journeys.  What impressed me most about the magazine is the use of photography and graphic design.  I do hope that in the future issues the magazine becomes a showcase and a vehicle for younger more unknown Indian photographers, from whom it can commission and feature projects of.  I also hope that it will attract new and younger writers, shying away from celebrity and “known” cultural commentators.

The artwork is laid out with space for it to breathe.  Any artist lucky enough to be featured in it will realize that great depth is achieved in the way the layouts are created.  Photo essays are not edited down to 2.5 images!  There are lots of little details, which make the experience pleasant, allowing the eyes to wander, and discover.  Some of the graphic illustrations are good enough be mini posters! Editorial photography is clear, creative and unpretentious.  Not an easy thing to achieve considering that “style” on many occasions in the publishing industry overtakes content.

The issue has features on a broad range of popular culture happenings that signpost to India that is not just about bollywoodesque obsessions.  Food, women, youth and art are clearly and cleverly blended together.  Each of these are discussed and discovered with unique angle of storytelling.

It is for me a merger of Monocle, Intelligent Life and New Yorker, blended into a one very Indian but also very global magazine from a very global country.  I am looking forward to discovering more of this India…