Rice growing and kolam-making is a daily ritual for most Tamil village women. Rice, the staple food of Tamil Nadu, is used in powder or paste form to make kolam. An offering to Bhudevi-mother earth, kolam celebrates auspiciousness, abundance and fertility. Cow dung is used for its antiseptic properties and flowers to attract bees and birds. There is also a strong and visible connection of these overlapping geometrical patterns with the rythm and formations of the sea waves that surrounds Pondicherry. It is quite fascinating to see how women in the rural areas of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, many of whom have never been through any formal schooling, are able to make such stunning and elaborate designs that reflect the palpable connection of the practise of kolam with the sea, land, vegetation, domestic animals, birds and insects.
Documentation: Anni Kumari
Edits: Santosh Kumar
Thanks to the women artists : Sivakalai
Special thanks to :
Rajesh Kumar & Ventakesh B for their help in translations, coordinating and connecting with the community at Seliamedu village in Pondicherry district.