Rangoli Residency at the Integrated Arts Academy, Burlington VT

For the month of April 2014, I had the opportunity to teach two arts-integrated residencies at the IAA in Burlington, VT. Working with both 1st-grade classes (with teachers Jen Nesson and Alice Patalano,) we integrated social studies and mathematics with visual arts. Focusing on the art of India, we studied Rangoli, even visiting the Tibetan Monks at the Fleming Museum who were in residence for a week creating an intricate sand Mandala. The students were captivated. Having over 6 hours of contact time with each student was a gift–we managed to cover some significant ground–making permanent Rangoli tiles from rice and some temporary group designs.

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I also had the opportunity to work with Stephanie Decarreau’s 2nd grade class. The arts-integrated focus was on mathematics and visual art and again, Rangoli proved to be a wonderful vehicle for leaning about shapes, angles, symmetry and pattern.
Choosing to make a ‘stained-glass’ wall-hanging, the students worked together to create some beautiful designs and experimented with group Rangolis. All work will be exhibited at the BCA Center–the opening will take place on Thursday May 22nd, 4-6pm.

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The Rusholme Education Project

This week I’ve had a flashback to a project I was involved with in the Summer of 2006. In conjunction with Shisha (the international agency for South Asian visual arts & crafts), I conducted a series of Rangoli workshops with the Year 6 students of St. Edwards Roman Catholic Primary School, in Rusholme, Manchester UK. They used grains and pulses to complete their designs, which initiated a conversation about food; variety, availability and origins. We thought it might be fun to study food in more detail, so after a series of still-life drawing and watercolor painting sessions, we scanned and reproduced the images for use on our larger Rangoli designs. The result was a series of beautiful, mosaic-style Rangoli panels using images of food, both exotic and familiar, to create the stunning patterns.
The project was successful on many levels: engaging students in art practice, promoting an understanding of cultural diversity and identity, and fostering community pride.

Lesley Ellis School, Arlington, MA

In February I visited the Lesley Ellis School, an independent school, preschool through Grade 6, located  in Arlington, MA. We covered a lot of ground, in short classes of  30 – 45 minutes. The students were able to learn about Rangoli through a visual presentation and witness its uses, history, processes and materials. They then had the opportunity to create their own Rangoli design using a blank grid and create a foundation for a further, more in-depth study at some time in the future. It was a great day and a lot of fun. Many thanks to Laura Douglass for your help and support.

If you are interested in booking a Rangoli workshop for your school, either day-long or residency, or would just like some further information, please contact me, Gowri Savoor, on info@gowrisavoor.com

Thatcher Brook Primary School, 2009

In December 2009, I was invited to work with the pupils of Thatcher Brook Primary School during a one-week cultural residency. It was a fun and busy week – each of the 350 pupils had the opportunity to learn about Rangoli design and construction and have some hands-on experience.

Half the school worked on a traditional Rangoli, working with rice and lentils.  The rice was affixed to an 8ft x 4ft panel board and varnished, so the school could keep it on permanent display.

The remainder of the school worked towards a stained glass Rangoli. This is also on permanent display within the school.

Chorlton Park Outdoor Arts Festival 2005

This Rangoli was designed for the Chorlton Park Arts Festival, an annual celebration of art and culture in Manchester.

Size: 8ft x 4ft. Completed on cotton covered board.
Time taken: 6hrs.
Materials: rice and lentils.

After the complicated center was complete, members of the public were invited to participate and help finish the design.