In India, this floor art is temporary art – often people create and redo designs as a daily routine. Certain intricate designs are created on special occasions such as weddings and religious festivals. The designs vary from region to region in India, and are called by different names: Alpana in Bengal, Kolam in South India, Rangoli in Maharastra, Sathia in Gujarat, and Mandana in Rajasthan. The material that is used to create the pattern depends on the local availibility of materials, purpose, and the artist. Flowers are used often for weddings and worshipping, wet red or white chalk is used to make intricate designs to tell a story, for good wishes, or to protect from evil eye - created on walls or on the floor. Creating the design is a form of meditation or worship - it is done only after cleaning oneself and the space in which the art is to be done. Every piece is different. Artist use various symbols to convey stories.
Rangoli is a secular, visual art created with the goal of decoration. The word Rangoli is a Sanskrit word which means a creative expression of art with colors. From ancient times, the art of rangoli is practiced by ladies in India for decorating the entrances of homes and courtyards. It was the belief that Rangoli would bring luck to the home and keep the evil eye away.
In Indian culture, all guests and visitors occupy a very special place. This decorative art form is an expression of hospitality, as it gives provides a warm and colorful welcome to visitors. Creating the art is a detailed process that gives satisfaction and a creative outlet.
Rangoli folk art is a very ancient tradition, the origins of which are very difficult to trace. Examples of Rangoli are found in ancient ruins like Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro. The art of floor painting is one which has survived the influx of different cultural influences and retained the spirit of Indian life.
Rangoli can be divided in three major categories Land illustrations (Rangoli, Alpana.), mural painting (Madhubani, Worli) & drawing on paper or textiles (Phad painting). The designs are inspired by regional stories, beliefs, and customs. The designs are often simple and geometrical (with lines, dots, squares, circles, triangles), but could invoke symbolic forms. Some symbols of animals or plants such as the lotus, mango leaf, fish, parrot, peacock, are associated with prosperity, health, happiness, and good luck. These symbols can be found in much of the textiles and other arts that have been passed on from generation to generation.
Designs may also vary as they reflect traditions, folklore and practices that are unique to each area of India. Rangoli Art is decoration that has different names in the different regions of India: Kolam in South India, Rangoli in Maharashtra, Saathiyo in Gujarat, Muggu in Andhra Pradesh, Chowkpurana in Northern India, Madana in Rajasthan, Aripana in Bihar and Alpana in Bengal – just to name a few.
The main medium for Rangoli is usually dry or wet rice flour, sindoor (vermillion), haldi (tumeric), red brick powder, limestone, or other natural colors. Colored sand/rice, and sometimes flower petals are a more modern variation.
Designs are made by sprinkling the powder with fingers on the floor. The artist’s fingers serve as a brush. Wet paste is applied with the help of a piece of cloth dipped in paste and squeezed with the fingers. It is traditionally done by women. Over the years, tradition has even made room for modern additions that add some flair to this beautiful art. Traditionally and still presently an art form practiced by women, Rangoli is often created during social occasions such as weddings or other milestones and gatherings, and also during religious celebrations and festivals. Oil lamps, or diyas, would be placed in Rangoli to give the paintings yet another dimension
One old belief surrounding Rangoli is that because Rangoli is made with a rice powder that can be recycled by ants, the family will get good fortune for satisfying the hunger of the ants.
Rangoli enhances the beauty of the home and can be enjoyed without conflicting with religion. It is an art that is changing everyday to the whims of the creator.
this page still under consruction
See some of my rangoli work from my various events and workshops. My events have spanned from various age group to the socioeconomic spectrum as well - from private schools to community centers in underserved neighborhoods.
You can check my calender for future events.