Vol 25 No 2 (2009)

Kolam: The Art of Remembering

Pushpa Naidu Parekh
Spelman College
Published May 2, 2009


Series of poems on the folk art of Kolam, traditionally practised by women in India. The art of Kolam of the women in South India provides the conceptual and visual framework for the specific forms of women’s struggles, triumphs and negotiations across socio-economic, religious and geo-political boundaries of India, as well as nature-culture divides. Kolam is a folk art form of designs made with rice paste, lime, white stone or ground colors (known as “Rangoli” in other parts of India) that transforms the mud or concrete entrance floors of village huts, temple entrances, courtyards, as well as city houses, and are also displayed on walls. Mainly the women’s art form, it is passed on from mother to daughter through a careful and deft looping of curves around dots, from simple to complex geometrical patterns.