Interview with a Rangoli Artist, Lakshmi Samaga

Rangoli is a traditional Indian art form of drawing with fine stone powder. It’s a part of Indian culture itself and a symbol of freshness. People also believe that Rangoli put in front of their house doors protect their homes. We talked to Lakshmi Samaga, an artist and Rangoli practitioner living in Hong Kong, about this beautiful tradition.

“In India, you’ll see new Rangoli every morning. The lady of the house cleans the front yard, sprinkles some water and draws the Rangoli, and only then starts her chores. Even today my mother and mother-in-law in India follow this tradition. The design they choose is simple for regular days and more sophisticated and larger in size for festivals and special occasions, like marriages, engagements and other celebrations.

There are two ways to draw Rangoli: dots and freehand. I love freehand design because it has no boundary. You can expand it as big as you like. Generally, the Rangoli are circle-shaped, but there are no rules as such.

We draw Rangoli with two materials: rice powder mixed with water or fine stone powder. I use fine stone powder to draw Rangoli. In Northern India, Rangoli includes a dash of colours to the design. The Southern Indian Rangoli have more intricate details made with only stone powder. They look very beautiful and elegant when put in the front yard of the house!

I have been drawing Rangoli since the age of 6, which helped develop my curiosity for art. Even now, I love to draw Rangoli in the front yard whenever I visit my mum’s house or my in-laws’ house. When I was a child, my friends and I had a competition whose Rangoli is the best. It requires quite a lot of skill, imagination and practice to draw a good Rangoli!

I have been in Hong Kong since 2014. I’ve tried my hands on sketching, painting and various crafts. I’ve conducted many workshops for children and adults teaching Indian folk art painting like Madhubani and Warli, Mandala, jewellery with silk thread, knitting, coffee painting, quilling (many workshops for charity). I also conduct online classes for adults.”

Lakshmi has made for our Sand Box several Rangoli patterns that you can make with sand!

Floral Rangoli