Mapping Stereotypes

There were more maps of heaven than earth in the beginning of our times. Someone in thenlate 7th millenium BCE, Çatalhöyük, Anatolia (modern Turkey), authored one of the earliest maps, or at least a painting that resembles a map. Living in a town of clustered houses that were entered from flat roofs, it isn’t very surprising that the civilization had a bird’s eye view of its habitat. Until the Age of Discovery, when people took a liking for a navigation and exploration, the world was perceived in several skewed perspectives. They were based on  personal travels and ancient scientific theories. Today, we perceive our borders based on our many wars, struggles, and brawls with each other. And yet, the map is still forming. This July, South Sudan came into being. Now, one Mayawati wants Uttar Pradesh as four parts. Maybe, it’s time for all of us to sit down and draw a map; tell each other how we perceive the world.

I’m not politically correct, says Yanko Tsvetkov, a visual artist, who also calls himself professionally as alphadesigner. He created:

A collection of national stereotypes featuring Europe, the Near and the Middle East, the United States of America, and ‘All the Rest’ from the point of view of regular bigots, the Mapping Stereotypes project feeds on all the harboured and protected prejudices of our species. The references can hurt you, humour you, or simply fly past your head (maybe, you really do not know what that place on the map is actually called and whether or not people live there).  Bulgarian born, London-based designer, Yanko Tsvetkov, first created in 2009 a satirical map as a comment on Britain energy crisis for his friends. It gradually grew in to this cartographic commentary on contemporary stereotypes. “sense of humour highly recommended!”

View the project on his website. Here are a couple of our favourites:

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