Print: Sylmar Kolam #2 (Diwali 2006)
Comment: Kolams are decorations created on the ground in home courtyards
and entryways by Tamil women in South India. They start with a freehand
drawing of the outline using rice flour or limestone powder, using a grid
of dots as a guide (a few of which may remain visible in the final design).
The shapes within the outline are filled in using flowers, resulting in
a very colorful and festive work of art.
This print used 8 Shina blocks. All were printed in the gomo zuri technique,
in an effort to replicate the look of the flower-filled sections in real
kolam. The unsophisticated carving also brings something of the handcrafted
feel of kolam to the prints (although frankly rather more of the latter
than is really needed).
The design is a kolam inspired both by the kolams of women in Chennai
and by some similar designs that I used to create as a child in Sylmar,
California. I created this design and the prints for the Diwali Festival
of 2006. Diwali, also called Deepavali in the South, is a five day celebration
in the late fall observed by Indians of all religions, focused on the
victory of good over evil, light over darkness, spiritual health and joy
over ignorance and despair.