Thursday, October 15, 2015

Kolam: A Threshold Art

Navarthri (the festival of nine nights/the festival of Goddess) started on Tuesday. All Hindus celebrate but with great variations across India. In South India, where I am from originally, it is celebrated with Golu, a doll and figurine display at home. It is also customary to draw in front of  the house large designs called kolam. A kolam is usually drawn using a mix of colored rice flour and chalk powder. It is obviously an ephemeral art not meant to last more than a few hours. Typically, a new kolam is made every day.

Here in the US, it is not very practical to draw kolam just using flour and chalk powder. I wanted it to last a little longer than a day. So, I made it with craft acrylic paints. The cement surface was rough and gray. I applied a coat of white gesso first to make the colors come out bright. I improvised using a typical mandala design and adding a few decorative elements here and there. The drawing did not flow smoothly because of the rough surface and it took me about 3 hours from start to finish.

Right now it looks bright and cheerful. Come winter, with ice and snow, most of it will peel away.

It is getting chilly here and sweater and glove weather is predicted for this weekend. Undeterred, the squirrels are still running around hoarding their secret stash.  I caught this one in action from my usual perch aka as the kitchen window. Enjoy.

Thanks for visiting.