This weeks Ironcraft has a very special topic, “Where we come from”. This has been a bit of a sticky wicket for me. Finding where I am from and what that means, has been a bit of a struggle. I am Indian. India is a vast country with many states. After independence, India was divided into states based on the language spoken. By default most Indians speak a minimum of two languages. One is their mother tongue and the other could be Hindi (the national language) or English ( Thank you British!).Most people regard their Language as a mark of their cultural identity. I Am Tamil , as in, My mother tongue is Tamil. My grandparents migrated from the state of Tamil nadu in the southern India to Mumbai in the state of Maharashtra. Marathi is the Language spoken in Maharashtra, however Mumbai is a cosmopolitan vibrant city with people from all states.
Living and growing up in Mumbai, I have always struggled to find my identity , my roots. Moving to Bangalore in the state of Karnataka ( Language Kannada) and then to Hyderabad ( State : Andhra pradesh. Language Telugu) has only made this need to find and connect with my roots, stronger.
There are certain symbols associated with being South indian (People from the states of Tamilnadu, Karnataka , Andhra pradesh or Kerala).The knowledge of dance , Music, Method of Prayers etc. Every South Indian Home is Normally adorned with a Kolam. Kolam in Tamil Nadu, Muggulu in Andhra pradesh, Rangavalli in Karnataka, Poovidal or Pookalam in Kerala. Kolam is an Auspicious symbol that adorns, prayer Halls, courtyards of homes etc. It is Painted first thing in the morning by the lady of the house. Normally Rice powder or thinned down Rice paste is used for application of Kolam. Sometimes Flowers etc are added to them. Since the ants would eat away the rice powder, it is considered as Charity to Animals. Now a days a special powder is used for Kolam.
Photo © Eric Lafforgue
Kolam is a very versatile art Limited only to the imagination of the artist.There are many kinds of kolams involving many techniques. My favourite is Pulli Kolam, meaning Kolam made with dots. A grid of dots are placed first and then the design is drawn around them.
Although Kolam is normally used to adorn floors, I wanted to take it to another medium . I am using normal drink coasters here to showcase my Kolam designs.
For more info on Kolams and designs please click on to