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The art of Rangoli

A traditional art form takes a modern shape in the kolam competition

Pics: S.Siva Saravanan.

SAYING IT WITH POWDER: All attention to get the right shape

THE FLOOR of the Mani Mandapam in the Ramnagar Ramar Kovil turned into a veritable canvas of colours with rows of women giving a twist to the time-honoured art of kolam. Even as you watch, a face emerges out of the blue. Soon, the hands and legs follow.

There is complete silence at the kolam competition, organised by Kannan Jubilee Coffee and the Red Chilli Hot Pepper restaurant as part of Republic Day celebrations, but each rangoli work speaks for itself. The colours are filled in deftly and each work resembles a painting or intricately done embroidery.

Temporary beauty

The only dampener in powder painting is that it is temporary. However beautiful, you cannot hang it on the wall. Even a slight breeze can change the contours of your work.

Giving final touches to Kolkata Kali.

The kolam competition saw the participation of students, housewives and, even a 76-year-old grandmother, Mythili. She has suffered 24 fractures and all her joints have literally been put in place, but her hands tell a story of their own. Her freehand drawing of Lord Vinayaga and Lord Anjaneya and her neat shading caught everyone by surprise. The only concession she took - working on a table instead of using the floor like everyone else. "I cannot stand. That's why," she says, smiling. This grandma won the third prize for her work.

Colours n' concepts

Sruthi, a student of Avila School, chose `welcome with flowers' as her theme. "The colour combination, concept and neatness matter in Rangoli," says `Kola Arasi' Amudha Murali, one of the judges for the contest. The other judge was Murugendran from the Pyramid Institute of Fine Arts.

S. Padmini, a housewife, brought in all the elements required for a Rangoli in her work featuring a plumed peacock. Her work won the first place. "The outline and the face are very important. Once that is done, filling in the colours is easy," she says. The second prize went to a traditional kolam done by Kaveri Ranganathan.

Lord Vinayaga seemed to be the crowd favourite. While Sowmya Gopalakrishan, a housewife, drew a modern Vinayaga in pastel shades, Devi Suganya, a student, chose to depict her `Granite Vinayagar' in the bright hues of red, purple and yellow. "Every colour in my rangoli signifies a flower - the yellow stands for saamandhi, red and pink for roses and green for grass," she explains. Other entries included traditional kolams, a `modern' blue peacock in a brown background and other floral designs.

`Kolkata Kali' by Kavitha needs special mention. The face, fiery eyes and the orange crown said it all. But, she got only the consolation prize, as she could not complete it on time. A splash of colours signifying unity by Dhanalakshmi and Pushpa's flower kolam won consolation prizes.


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