SINGAPORE - A new art initiative focused on the ancient rangoli aims to open a window to Indian art and culture for younger folks.
The Rangoli Movement is the first large-scale visual and digital showcase of a traditional art form in Singapore. The free month-long event runs from Feb 21 in Clive Street in Little India.
Rangoli - or kolam in South India - is a 5,000-year-old North Indian folk floor art where coloured rice powders and organic, mostly edible materials are used to create auspicious designs outside the front door.
The word "rangoli" comes from the Sanskrit "rangavalli", which means "rows of colour".
The Rangoli Movement was conceptualised by boutique agency Texture Media, which specialises in creating interactive digital media installations for retail and commercial spaces.
The agency partnered art curator and gallerist Iola Liu, 31, from Asia Art Collective and Visual Arts Centre, and architect Randy Chan, 51, from Zarch Collaboratives.
Supported by the Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association and Singapore Tourism Board (STB), the project aims to embody the connection between the traditional folk art of rangoli and the principles of Singarangoli.
The latter is a style honed by local rangoli expert Vijaya Mohan after decades of rangoli practice. It is creative, modern and meant to engage the community.
By blending music, dance and digital art into fun and interactive displays, the Rangoli Movement aims to reignite interest in rangoli art for younger audiences. It is part of Art Around The City, a four-month community project by the National Arts Council and STB which debuted in January 2022.
Taking place at Gillman Barracks, Design Orchard, Little India and Chinatown, Art Around The City features workshops, installations and experiences designed to engage the man in the street.
The Rangoli Movement is presented at Project Oasis @ Little India (Poli), two unused pockets of land in Clive Street which have been transformed into public spaces for art installations.
There are three pavilions.
The Rangoli Dance of Colours pavilion features an immersive sound- and motion-sensitive interactive experience with "dance booths". Visitors can make their own digital art while moving to music and see their patterns come alive through LED projections.
They can also make their own rangolis to take home at the Workshop Pavilion, but the free workshops and masterclasses are fully booked.
At the Artist Pavilion, visitors get to feast their eyes on both traditional and multimedia artworks by Mrs Vijaya, 63, who is listed in the Guinness World Records for creating the largest rangoli (256 sq m) in 2003. She completed it in seven hours at Whampoa Community Club.
The India-born artist, who came to Singapore in 1992 and became a citizen in 2005, also holds 36 local records and has completed more than 20,000 rangolis here and overseas.
From the age of five, she learnt rangoli art from her mother - an acclaimed rangoli artist - in their home town of Trichy in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
In 2007, when she was 48, she got a master's degree in art therapy from Lasalle College of the Arts.
"Drawing rangolis engages your tactile senses," she tells The Straits Times. "While using your fingers to paint, your eyes act like a camera to capture and create colourful rangoli creations in mindfulness and in rhythm, just like 'dancing' with colours and patterns."
The Rangoli Movement
Where: Project Oasis @ Little India (Poli), Clive Street
When: From Feb 21
Info: The Rangoli Movement's website
Correction note: The starting date of the event has been changed to Feb 21.