Mar 13, 2017

A Rangoli for Holi

St+Art India

The festival of colours, Holi, is a celebration that brings families, friends and communities together. On this day, people in India put their clean clothes aside, cover their cars and furniture, and leave their valuables in safekeeping to venture out into streets without any inhibitions. They enjoy the day with the simple pleasures of colour, music, dance and traditional sweets like gujia. It’s a day of freedom, laughter and love.

In celebration of Holi, artist Hanif Kureshi got a group of friends together to cover the streets of Delhi with some colour.

In tow was Painter Kafeel, an artist discovered by Hanif through his ‘HandpaintedType’ project, which strives to keep the art of India’s street and sign painters alive by digitizing it for future generations.

Painter Kureshi decided to make a rangoli, which is a design or traditional motif that is usually created on the floor in, or outside of, one’s house as a decoration during festivals. Rangoli are thought to bring good luck and prosperity to the home.

Rangoli are usually made using coloured pigments or treated sand, but for this edition, the team came up with a unique method for making rangoli, using a secret ingredient – salt!

We were joined by some new friends during this day-long process of rangoli-making... a group of excitable local children!

Initially nervous about even approaching the team, by the end of the day the children were enthusiastically suggesting design ideas to the artists and were covered head-to-toe in the coloured pigments.

Hanif Kureshi and his team took over an entire section of road for their rangoli-making.

As well as the hard-working hands of the artists, the design was also created with help from passers-by. Even passing bicycles and the sun helped to dispel its vivid colours.

The colours on the road made for a striking photo opportunity which passers-by used to pose and smile for clicks!

Some visitors being more distinctive than others!

This is the team, who worked on the site from 7am to 6.30pm. They grew in numbers over the course of the day as they were joined by the children playing on the streets and local residents.

Everyone came together to make the Rangoli and, running on the adrenaline and energy that comes from creating something so personal and joyous, the event felt like a special celebration.

Finally, at 6.30pm, we were greeted by the sight of the finished spectacle. “We love colour” written on the ground next to the wall which said “We love Dilli” in the same Devanagari script and style. This piece was an extension of the mural on the wall, created by Hanif Kureshi himself, in collaboration with artists Lek and Sowat, for the Lodhi art district as part of the St+art Delhi 2016 festival. A temporary piece, created especially for Holi, it draws upon the colours and energy of the work on the wall, which in itself is a reflection of the spirit of this festive season in India.

The wall mural also drew upon the colours of Holi, and on the style of the Devanagari script, to create something that brought the community together, could be understood by the local children who only spoke Hind,i and added to the vibrant nature of the locality.

Pictured here is the entire team at the end of day, covered, of course, in the joyous colours of Holi.

St+Art India
Credits: Story

Artwork on the wall:
Fred Visualek and Sowat + Hanif Kureshi

Artwork on the road:
Hanif Kureshi

Images by
Pranav Gohil

Special thanks:
Asian Paints
Central Public Works Department
Swachh Bharat
The Lodhi Colony community
Delhi Police

Watch the film:
'We Love Colour - A Rangoli for Holi'

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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