British Columbia

Rangoli rice designs of artist Raj Thandhi celebrate Diwali

Rangoli artist Raj Thandhi spends hours creating the works of art by shaping dry rice with her hand.

Raj Thandhi creates the works of art by placing dry rice and shaping it with her hand

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      A Surrey artist is hoping to pique the public's interest in the art of rangoli as families across B.C. observe Diwali, the celebration of light and the triumph of good over evil.

      Raj Thandhi has only been creating the mosaic-like pieces made from rice or sand for four years, but she is already well-known for her designs.

      Rangoli is an Indian folk art that is seen year-round at festivities as a way to welcome guests, prosperity and good luck. But during Diwali, Thandhi says it holds a special significance.

      She explained it's believed that Lakshmi, the goddess that brings good fortune, visits homes based on how beautifully the doorway has been decorated.

      "I always compare it to how people go all out with their Christmas lights," said Thandhi during an interview on CBC Radio's The Early Edition.

      "Back home in India, the biggest, boldest and most creative rangoli is the one that that 'wins' in the neighbourhood."

      Thandhi starts her designs by dropping dyed dry rice into the centre of her work space and then shapes the design with her hand allowing a pattern to emerge.

      "To me the beauty of rangoli is that you can take it any direction that you want depending on how much space you have ... how bold you want to make the design."

      During the summer, she spend seven hours creating a piece featuring a peacock that stretched more than 3 metres wide on Granville Street.

      Thandhi says her designs are mostly inspired by patterns she grew up seeing in henna tattoos.

      To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled Rangoli artist Raj Thandhi with the CBC's The Early Edition.


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