Rangoli is a traditional doorstep art, used for auspicious occasions. Traditionally Rangolis were made from coloured rice powder.
The deigns are geometrically laid out, like mandala configurations and include religious imagery, shakti symbols and aesthetic patterns all calculated to bring blessings to both the maker and the viewer.
Depending on the symbols and imagery used it is believed that the rangolis can hold so much power as to change the destined flow of events.
In some parts of India eg. in Bengal, a wet mixture comprising of rice powder and yogurt is used for rangolis.
In certain communities they believe that the colour black should never be used in the making of a rangoli except on Kali Puja day (generally held on the same day as Diwali, sometimes the day after Diwali, depending on lunar calendar).
I created the first rangoli at Brent Cross Shopping Centre as part of their very first Diwali celebrations in 2000. It was a community/schools engagement project where we worked specifically with the year students at 2 local grammar schools as well as 3 women’s community groups. This first rangoli made into the Guinness book for records for being the largest rangoli in the world, coming in at 104 sq metres.
I created community rangolis at Brent Cross for many subsequent years as part of the Diwali celebrations. I led the rangoli for the inauguration of Museum in Docklands in 2003 and for several years subsequently as well. I have created and made rangolis at SOAS, Museum of London, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. The rangolis have always been done as community engagement workshops where we have welcomed schools, community groups as well members of the public to be a part of the celebrations.