Art as therapy – Bangalore does it with daily Rangolis
This is daily art therapy!
It's a privilege to walk down a residential area like Shanthinagar in Bangalore and find the streets decorated with rangolis – as if to welcome you.
Artist at work at sunrise!
At dawn, I saw her wash the street in front of her house, pat it dry and bring out bowls of white and red powders to make a rangoli. In her 50s now, the line drawing that emerged from her free hand movements, testifies her practice at making these beautiful rangolis which are a common sight in any residential area in Bangalore.
The streets of Bangalore are a treat! Before you glare at me defiantly from a traffic jam on MG Road, let me elaborate. True, Bangalore may be a busy city but the daily artwork that I see on streets here makes me applaud the artists who find time for this everyday!
Why do they make a rangoli?
Art has been integrated as part of the sacred. Rangolis are made to honour and welcome gods. They are made at the entrance to homes, just outside the main gate, and next to the pot of tulsi (holy basil). Women and occasionally men have mastered the fine art of making rangolis.
When I learnt to make rangolis by observing Bangaloreans make them everyday, I enjoyed the good energy the five minute spent with rangoli powder brought to my entire day. This is daily art therapy! It is no wonder that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of Art of Living, says that creativity uplifts the prana (life force).
How to make a rangoli
The daily rangoli is made with white and red rangoli powders, white rice paste, or moistened chalk sticks. Occasionally, fresh flowers also find their way here. On festivals, the rangolis get elaborate, and the number of colours goes up. Pink, green, red, blue, yellow…you name it. In some places where families are too busy to make a rangoli everyday, they simply paint one in enamel colours or use a rangoli sticker.
A simple pattern for learners: Simple as it gets!
Photo credits: Anisha Sharma