Rangoli: Art That Binds

Rangoli: Art That Binds

As one of the Wales Arts International and British Council India/Wales projects this year, Winding Snake has been exploring one of India’s oldest visual arts forms. Jenny Allan presents the beautiful world of rangoli, and how stunning connections were made between India and West Wales.

On the 15th August, 2017 India observed 70 years of independence from the UK. To mark this historic day Winding Snake launched their latest international, collaborative art project Rangoli: art that binds at Small World Theatre in Ceredigion.

Rangoli, or kollam, is an Indian decorative art form traditionally designed and created by women. It is created on the ground and can be made from coloured sand, flowers, or other materials and is a practice handed down from generation to generation:

Rangoli has a vital social function in the maintenance of women’s friendships. Creating Rangoli is one of  the only times in the day to socialise with other women and talk about things.”

Mrs. Mangalam Swaminathan of Indira Ghandi National Centre for Arts and Culture, Delhi  

The Winding Snake team and Indian artist Rajni Kiran Jha headed to West Wales to create the largest Rangoli artwork the artist had ever made, with members of the community in Aberteifi.

Everyone, from young children to professional artists, came together to create a spectacular, colourful artwork symbolising the bond between India and Wales.

At the end of the day S4C’s Heno team joined us to cover the launch and the day was brought to a beautiful and fitting close with the music of Indian-Welsh fusion group Tyhai.

Rangoli Time Lapse from Winding Snake Productions on Vimeo

Rangoli: art that binds is a project about friendship; friendship between women and girls; between art and culture; between international artists and international arts organisations; a friendship between India and Wales that brings groups of women and girls in both India and Wales together to collaborate and share something beautiful.

Funded by Wales Arts International, the British Council, First Campus and Ffilm Cymru Wales to name of few of the project’s impressive list of supporters, Rangoli: art that binds explores the relationship between Rangoli folk art and women’s friendships. It introduces and celebrates the practice of Rangoli making with women and girls in Wales.

The animation studio will also be travelling to India in October 2017 to learn more about this incredible art form. The team will create a pop-up animation studio at India Habitat Centre, Delhi,  between 1st and 7th and at Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur, between 13th and 14 October and 22nd to 26th October.

The studio will be open to the public. In addition the Winding Snake team will visit schools, universities and Girlguiding groups between India and Wales to share our experiences. For more information you can visit artthatbinds.org.

The work created by professional artists at pop-up studio will be documented through photography and video, and will be made into a series of animated short films.  

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 stop­-motion 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 the Rangoli.”

Amy Morris, Winding Snake Project Manager

Visit artthatbinds.org to follow the project as it progresses.  The site is available in English, Welsh and Hindi and will gather photos, videos and stories from people in India and Wales about human experiences of art as a social conduit.

If you would like to share your story on the project site we’d love to hear from you – please get in touch:

Contact: Amy Morris via amy@windingsnake.com, 07584 290 926

Jennifer Allan via jenny@windingsnake.com, 07557 448 342