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Arts Toolkit

Arts Toolkit: Visual Arts Video Clips

A Prayer on the Doorstep (Indian Rangoli)



Nirmala Sathaye and Suhasini V. Bapkar demonstrate the India art of rangoli, a decorative, patterned sand painting traditionally displayed on the doorstep to welcome visitors into the home. Rangoli also enhances places of worship and defines and beautifies place settings for meals. Sathaye and Bapkar describe the process of making rangoli as a time for meditation and harmony. In India, rangoli is made with a finely ground sandstone; Sathaye and Bapkar continue this honored custom in America using a mixture of rice flour and sand or salt.

Suggested Uses:

  • Pair with the “Mehendi-Maker” segment on the Spectrum of Art DVD to help students better understand and appreciate the culture of India. Have students create rangoli patterns (see the “Making Art” and “Visual Art and Culture” sections of the binder for how-to suggestions).
  • Explore how traditions such as rangoli help us better understand and appreciate other cultures. Why do the women featured in this segment feel it is important to continue these traditions in America? Have students identify traditions from their cultures that they are perpetuating and discuss why. (See the excerpt from the World of Our Own teacher’s guide in the “Visual Art and Culture” section of the binder.)
  • Use the segment in conjunction with a discussion of the purposes of art.
  • Show in conjunction with two or three segments about arts from different artists/cultures and discuss what these artists/cultures have in common and how they are different. Possible segments include “Recycled Threads,” also on Visual Arts and Culture, and “Stone: Russell Dawson” on the Spectrum of Art DVD.

Lesson plans using this resource:

For more information:

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