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Yorkton artists showcase rangoli at GDAG

Coloured sand creates works of art on the floors of the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery.

YORKTON – The Godfrey Dean Art Gallery is currently showcasing the works of a local brother and sister artistic duo.

Artists Purvish and Megha Patel practice rangoli, an art form "in which patterns are created on the floor or a tabletop using materials such as powdered lime stone, red ochre, dry rice flour, coloured sand, quartz powder, flower petals and coloured rocks," read the aritcle on rangoli from Wikipedia.

Yorkton This Week caught up with the duo prior to the completion their second piece now on display at the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery.

"This is Rangoli — that's what we call it in India — it's a traditional art passed down from years and years – it's passed down from generations to generations," said Purvish of his knowledge of the art form.  

Purvish said the art is often associated with celebrations that take place in his home country of India, noting it is believed to keep evil things away from homes.

The duo uses a coloured and fine-grained sand for their rangoli and up to 12 different colours, though Purvish admits it is hard to find quality coloured sand in the area, so they opt to import it directly from suppliers in India or purchase it through online retailers.

"Even if you go on Amazon and buy those colours you would hardly get more than 12 colours," said Purvish, adding, "if you go through India, they use a lot more colours than what you see in here."

As for the application of the sand, Megha said the technique involves holding the sand in one's palm and draining it through fingers onto the canvas; the canvas in this case being the concrete floor of the art gallery.

"It's a technique between your thumb and your first finger," said Purvish, noting the motion mimics the pouring of a bottle.

The time involved in creating rangoli is like any other art form.

"It depends on how big you want to go — we won't say we're pros — but if you see a pro who does Rangoli on a daily basis, they can do a Rangoli in hour or so."

Purvish said the rangoli that was currently on display — a peacock – the national bird of India — took the duo roughly six hours to complete, noting that they had planned for a larger piece but ran out of colours.

"The one we are doing right now will also be a combo of twelve colours – once we start drawing we can go as big as we want, so Megha wants to start from the centre this time and we'll go in each direction until our colour runs out," said Purvish of the latest piece.

Purvish, who has lived in Canada for 13 years and Megha, who has been here for three, said they are proud to showcase a piece of their culture in the community, noting that this is their first time doing so.

"It's a good thing to bring our culture," said Purvish, adding, "you know Canada is a multi-cultural country — bringing your culture out – being able to share those cultural values with different cultures — it's always a proud moment for us to show something."

Modern Art in the Traditional Way: Rangoli, will be on display at the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery until Dec. 23.