Topic: Rangoli - Traditional art from India

Topic type:

Rangoli is one of the most popular art forms in India. It is a form of decoration that uses finely ground white powder and colours


Can you imagine our life without colours - just the black and white? It would be pretty dull, gloomy and depressing. Colour makes life vibrant, cheerful and lively. It fills our life with the fragrance which you can't smell but feel. It touches your heart and leaves its impression forever.

One such sparkly and creative expression of colours is Rangoli. Rangoli is traditional floor art form from India. Rangoli is derived from a Sanskrit word Rangaavli - Rang + Aavli. Rang means colour and Aavli means row. The simple meaning of Rangoli is an art of spreading colours in rows, in a particular pattern. Traditionally Rangolis are used to decorate the floor of the front yard on a festival day or on a special occasion to welcome the guests. It is a symbol of warm Indian hospitality.

Since childhood, I was always fascinated and attracted to the bright sand colours used to make a Rangoli. My mum was my inspiration. 35 years back she made one permanent Rangoli design using bright oil paint on the floor. I was inspired every time when I see it. During the festival of lights- Deepavali- my mum and elder sister used to decorate the front yard with Rangoli with geometric design. Slowly I started participating by filling the design with sand colours. Then I started doing my own small geometric designs. I did the first free hand Rangoli when I was sixteen. This was appreciated by family members and friends; this is when Rangoli took one of the top places in the list of interests. Soon after I joined Engineering College and art of rangoli was put behind the machine drawing and survey plots, but the art was alive in my heart.

After completing engineering and settling in job and marriage, I once again turned toward my passion for Rangoli again. This journey of colours started in 1993 and continued since then. It also moved from India to New Zealand. In the year 2000, during my first visit to NZ, my sister organised a whole day Rangoli exhibition at the Te papa museum, Wellington. This was the first time I got an opportunity to showcase this rich Indian traditional art to overseas Indians and Kiwis. I again started experimenting different material to make Rangolis slightly different than the traditional one. I used coloured rice, coloured rice powder, lentils and flowers for my Rangolis. Journey continued and got opportunities year after year to conduct workshops, presentations and live demonstrations in Hamilton and Rotorua. During such live demonstrations many kiwis also enjoyed putting their hands together to learn this art. This gives an immense satisfaction for propagating our Indian culture to the other side of world.

The important messages conveyed through this art are ;Active interaction with family members and friends, while doing the rangoli together celebrating a festive occasion. It is a form of sharing joy and as they say sharing joy increases the happiness.Journey of life is perishable - when the occasion is over, we sweep out the rangoli and wipe the clean. This tells us that all the creations ultimately are wiped out making way for new ideas or life to be created.

Thia was done in Rotorua Diwali Festival in 2008.




Rangoli - Traditional art from India

First Names:Shweta
Last Name:Modak
Place of Birth:India
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License
Rangoli - Traditional art from India by Shweta is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License