Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Kolam Wall Art- Vertical Rangoli.

I grew up watching my late grandmother dexterously decorate the space outside the main entrance of the house, each morning, with 'kolam', the South-Indian term for rangoli. In Palakkad Iyer homes, as well as in some other South-Indian communities, kolams are drawn with rice flour, either dry or wet, and 'kaavi', which is a soft red brick with lends the bright red-oxide colour. Hence kolams are usually white and red. The designs are mostly geometric designs, ranging from simple to complex, doubling up as mandalas, to converge positive energies in homes and keep out dense energies. One variation is the dot kolam where dots are drawn first and then they are either connected or looped across. It symbolizes the interconnection between everything in the Universe. For auspicious occasions like weddings and festivals, kolams run into several feet in length and width, drawn by skilled women, to whom it is second nature. I had to practise this many times in my note book to get the dots and loops right. I wish I had taken an interest when my grandma used to urge me to draw and learn the kolam designs from her. When, at a community centre I was asked to do a wall-art next to the gate, I thought of a vertical kolam/ rangoli on the wall, which blends perfectly with the stone idols of the Gods, reminiscent of temples in South India. That, with the bamboo trees around, to make the setting perfect. :-) I dedicate this wall-art to my dearest Grandma.

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