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Updated: May 8, 2010 11:05 IST

Suffolk University students create Indian art form

PTI
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Participants creating 'pookalam', rangoli with flower petals, during a contest in connection with Kerala's Onam festival, in New Delhi. File photo: AP.
Participants creating 'pookalam', rangoli with flower petals, during a contest in connection with Kerala's Onam festival, in New Delhi. File photo: AP.

Students of Suffolk University in Boston received an experiential lesson in Indian culture when they created a rangoli, an Indian sand—painting in the lobby of one of the university buildings.

Rangoli is a folk tradition and one of the most popular art forms in India. The students created it under the guidance of eminent visual artist Gowri Savoor.

“I wanted my students to understand how folk traditions in India continue to exist today and how an eastern tradition and cultural memory can be transplanted to western ground and still be meaningful,” said Afshan Bokhari, assistant professor of art history at the New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University.

“The students were really inspired by their own craft—making abilities and were surprised that their small contributions of laying out the rice within the design frame yielded a colourful and festive outcome,” he said.

It took ten students from Professor Bokhari’s “Art of India” class around 12 hours over two days to complete the rangoli which is seven feet in diameter and comprised white rice that was dyed using 13 food colourings, the university said.

The university plans to build at 20 Somerset Street a state—of—the—art home for its New England School of Art & Design.

Professor Bokhari hopes that the rangoli will “bless the ground at this site to ensure the future building’s successful completion and longevity.” It was created indoors due to inclement weather.

“It has truly been a wonderful experience working with the students and people throughout the Suffolk community. It has been a gift for me to share my life experiences, traditions and practices with everyone.” Ms. Savoor said in her address.

A native of India, Ms. Savoor lives in Montpelier, Vermont where she works in her own art studio.

Keywords: Rangoli

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