Rangoli: the art that binds is a multimedia participatory arts project for women and girls in Wales and India. The project is about friendship: between women and girls, art and culture and India and Wales.
Rangoli is an Indian decorative art form traditionally designed and created by women. It is a practice handed down from generation to generation. Every Indian state has its own style of Rangoli, but the techniques used to create them, a dot and grid system, are very similar. All designs have symmetry and are designed to reflect the natural world.
Rangoli is about creating a sense of balance; it is commonly believed that "Rangoli is life", and that it "purifies and transcends space and time" (Ralph M. Steinman, 1989).
For many people, creating Rangoli is a spiritual event, which is said to bring forth wellbeing. This is reflected in the materials used to create Rangoli, such as flowers, sand and rice: all materials that are part of one's environment, and symbolise life.
The word ‘Rangoli’ derives from Sanskrit meaning ‘expression of artistic vision through the joyful use of colour’.
During the project, artists and animators from Wales and India will explore the relationship between Rangoli folk art and women's friendships, and introduce and celebrate the practice of Rangoli making with women and girls in Wales.
Working with female artists in both countries; Dr Beena Jain of Rajasthan University and Delhi-based Rajni Kiran Jha and Welsh animators Rosie Holtom and Amy Morris will collaborate to create Indo-Celtic Rangoli designs. There will be a series of events and workshops in Wales at Chapter in Cardiff and Small World Theatre in Cardigan, and in India at Jawahar Kala Kendra in Jaipur and the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. The Rangoli artwork created by the community will be made into a series of short animated films.
Welsh animator Amy Morris has acknowledged the important role such artistic collaborations can play in the community:
A key element of Rangoli is its transience; as soon as a piece of Rangoli art is created it begins to be destroyed by the elements and by the movement of people in the community carrying out daily activities, and the remnants are swept away the following day ready for a new creation to take its place. This transience is also integral to forms of stopmotion animation, in which each frame must be destroyed to create the next frame. In this way, animation is the perfect medium through, which to capture the essence of Rangoli.