Kolam - Ephemeral Patterns for Eternal Prosperity

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1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Brunei Gallery
Brunei Gallery Exhibition Rooms
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About this event

This is the first UK exhibition by the Swedish based anthropologist and artist Anna Laine exploring the practice of Kolam . Personal narratives are combined with descriptions, and Tamil notions of divinities, continuity and change interact with pieces produced using Nordic craft traditions and photography.

Everyday before the sun rises and sets, women in the state Tamil Nadu, South India, draw geometrical images, kolam , on the streets at the entrances of their houses. They hereby invite the deities who provide auspiciousness and well-being to their families as well as the immediate environment. The kolam makes the image of the house complete, as a material object as well as a cultural conception.

The images affect the mood in the surrounding community and it materialises the rhythms of life.

The majority of girls learn how to make kolams at an early age. After marriage, it forms part of their everyday household work. Through the continuous reiteration, they are constructed as feminine beings. The kolam practice also incorporates individual experimentation, particularly during festive occasions when women draw larger and more elaborated images. It provides a space to investigate changing circumstances and values. Kolam is an artistic practice that has an important role in the constitution of social relationships and people’s perception of the world.

The exhibition conveys some of the intimacy and ambiguity through which knowledge gained during long periods of ethnographic fieldwork was formed, and Laine invites the audience to make their own interpretation of what kolam might be for them.

The exhibition has previously been shown at The Blue Place Cultural Centre, Gothenburg and The Museum of Ethnography, Stockholm

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