The Indian Artist: Rangoli

The thing that I have always loved the most about art is how many forms it can take. Art can be timeless, shifting, ever-adapting. Today, I learned about another form of art, an ancient Indian method of adornment, a mode that I found was incredibly cathartic and peaceful to create.

In the Hindu culture, today is Lori, a festival marking the end of the winter season in India and bringing in the new year. Traditionally, during this holiday, homes and temples are decorated with beautiful mandalas on the pavement and tiled floors called Rangoli. This art form is traditionally created using materials such as colored rice, colored sand, quartz powder, flower petals, and colored rocks. Generally, natural and pure products are used to create these beautiful designs. Today, I used a paste made by mixing rice flour and water to create a bright white rangoli design on the tiled floor of my local temple.

The ancient Hindu texts explain that families should wake up every morning to wash the pavement in front of their homes and adorn the ground with rangoli, welcoming the new day and good fortune. This is still done in India today. The purpose of rangoli is to bring strength, good luck, and generosity. Design depictions may also vary as they reflect traditions, folklore, and practices that are unique to different regions. Rangoli designs can be simple geometric shapes, deity impressions, or floral designs, but they can also be very elaborate designs created by numerous people.

The type of rangoli that I did is called Kolum Rangoli, a type of design that is purely white without the colors that are generally associated with the art form. I’ve shown a picture of my first ever attempt at rangoli on the side and a few other designs I thought up as well. I think that it turned out pretty well! What do you think?

I will always love art for its ability to be so expressive and powerful, effective, and multi-faceted. Today I learned about a new art form, something that I knew existed but never partook in until now. I encourage everyone to try new forms of art without any expectations or preconceived notions. You may be surprised by the result…

As always, if anything that I discussed in this post stood out or if any questions arise please feel free to comment and share your thoughts! I hope you enjoyed this week’s look into the breadth of art! Looking forward to next Sunday.


~ Riya


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Riya A

My name is Riya and I am currently a Freshman at Umich. Art has been a huge passion of mine from a very young age and in this column, I look forward to sharing my perspectives and outlooks on life through my personal work!

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