AN ANCIENT colourful art form was showcased to over 300 people in Rugby last weekend.
At a Kolam competition at the Benn Hall, 68 Kolam competitors and 20 artists from various cultural backgrounds came together to participate in the ancient art of Kolam drawing and an art competition, with some participants being as young as 12 years of age.
Kolam is a form of art which originated in south India to celebrate the harvest festival, in which coloured rice flour is used to create freehand symmetrical patterns.
Over three hours, both categories of teams produced artworks that reflected food sustainability and harvest celebrations.
Alongside the Kolam patterns were slogans that conveyed simple messages to respect farmers and of the need to make food sustainability while respecting the earth.
Using a variety of media, the art competitors presented their story through a theme which reflected ‘Harvest Celebrations – Then and Now’.
The Kolam competition was won by Team Frangipani, represented by Kameshwari Sonti, Chandna Arra and Arathi Sreekumar.
Team Raja Ravi Varma, represented by mother-daughter team Aishwarya Magesha and Nikitha Magesh, won first prize in the art competition.
Judges included renowned Leamington artist Chandna Batra and Kolam artist Florence Michael, alongside volunteers from Rugby’s Locke House who delivered over 170,000 Covid vaccinations – the highest in the region.
Attendees were also treated to a number of traditional song and dance performances.
A competitor said the event “truly showcases our culture and tradition to our kids,” adding: “We came for the community spirit and thoroughly enjoyed the team hospitality.”
A member of the judging team added: “Judging the Kolams was very difficult, as every piece of art-work and Kolam looked exquisite.
“It was a wonderful afternoon of art and creativity. What a great community and an inspiration to us all.”
Attendee Susan Brierely said: “The contributions illustrated the wisdom and timelessness of ancient world views – respect for the Earth and the people.
“I was most impressed by some of the younger generations, who wanted to embrace traditional practices in a modern context. Thank you for bringing this to Rugby.”
Rugby MP Mark Pawsey, who distributed the prizes, congratulated the artists and thanked Thaai Tamil Sangam – a group which represents Indian Tamils across Warwickshire – for organising the event.