International artist, teacher, lecturer and printmaker Radha Chandras-hekaran was born and raised in Southern India. Her current works combine printmaking techniques with other media such as paint and natural dyes, and she's brought these together in her "Art for the Sole" — special hand-painted natural coir floormats decorated with traditional Kolams.
Kolams are sacred ritual geometrical ground patterns that are intended to represent the universe and all that can be encountered within it. Radha has been practicing ritual ground painting since the age of 5. Her current research involves investigating, documenting and comparing the indigenous ritualistic patterns drawn by the women from Southern India and those from the Northern territory of Australia (Arnem Land) and the cultural link between them.
When applied to the body of a person taking part in a ceremony or the surface of an object, these magical patterns have the power to transform the occasion to one with religious significance. Sacred geometrical patterns are defined by lines, dots, squares, circles, triangles, the lotus, the trident, the conch shell, leaves and tulasi, the sacred plant.
The spirituality behind these sacred patterns is of great richness and depth. Radha has recreated the Kolams on the floormats to adorn the entrance way. This decoration is not only a gesture of welcome but also a symbol of invitation to Lakshmi — the goddess of wealth and prosperity — into the home to keep the evil spirits away.
CONTACT JANET BERG via her Web site, www.janetberg.com