CHENNAI: The pandemic influence d lockdown may have closed art galleries and exhibitions across the country, but artists have not locked down ways of making an impact through their work. They are wielding the brush — and in some cases, the simple rice flour — urging citizens to stay calm, stay home and stay safe. One such artist is Mumbaib a s e d G a n d h i m a t h y Senthilkumar who, disturbed by the pandemonium arising from the pandemic, is using kolam to make people pause, reflect and awaken from the slumber of ignorance. “It’s disheartening to see some people take the situation lightly despite the officials putting in their best efforts to protect us from the pandemic.
I couldn’t do anything about it and hence decided to spread awareness among the people. Kolam is my only weapon for that. A few members in our kolam groups are also coming up with different concepts around coronavirus in their designs,” says the kolam enthusiast, who has actively been drawing kolams since 2011. Her kolams are a tribute to the frontline staff who, despite being at high risk of getting infected, are silently performing their duties in the time of distress.
Through her work, Gandhimathy is urging people to be sensible and sensitive to the efforts of — the police force who patrol round-the-clock to ensure that rules are being followed; Corporation workers who sweep, clear the garbage and fumigate the streets to keep the environment safe and clean; and healthcare professionals, who work extra shifts to ensure lives are saved. Relentless and enthusiastic to make a difference, Gandhimathy now has a new morning routine.
Depending on the complexity of the design, she tells us, each kolam takes anywhere from a few minutes to an hour. Every kolam is drawn on a 4X4 black mica sheet. Upon completion, she spreads the message on her social media. Family, friends and well-wishers have been sharing their ideas, too, goading her to keep up the good work. “These are simple messages. I’m confident that at least those on my kolam group will have some-thing to take away from it. The art of kolam is not dying but has become more powerful in many ways now. It’s a freedom of expression,” shares Gandhimathy, who plans to draw one design a day until the end of this lockdown. For more, visit Facebook page: Gandhimathy Senthilkumar