We celebrated the Deepavali circle of light by learning how to make colorful kolams

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It was a colorful day as the TRP troupe spent our Saturday (October 22) learning about culture and tradition, while expressing our creativity on a special evening Kolam decorative arts workshop at Quayside Mall, Kota Kemuning.

The workshop was organized in collaboration with Gamuda Land to celebrate the Deepavali festive season and was taught by Kolam Guru Ruben Prakash with his team of talented traditional artists.

The event brought together mall visitors and families who came to experience first-hand what Kolam was made of, and even brought home some amazing gifts!

(Credit: TRP)

Eternal Beauty

Translating to ‘beauty’, Kolams are those simple yet colorful and intricate works of art that are drawn on the ground using dry, edible objects such as grains of rice and flour. They are usually engraved to mark special occasions within the Indian community, such as New Year’s Eve, weddings and other celebrations.

Read more: What are those pretty colorful patterns on the floor during Deepavali?

As we worked on our own grainy illustrations, our instructor Kevin told us that kolams are made to signify auspiciousness and as temporary abstractions to welcome prosperity.

This is because Kolams are meant to be short-lived. Part of the reason they are made from edible materials is that the artwork is also intended as a sort of offering to the creatures we share this world with.

(Credit: TRP)

Kevin shared that traditionally Kolams are lured outside and left overnight to be eaten away by birds and insects, and disposed of the next day.

You can even say that the art form teaches us the lesson that no matter how hard we work on something or how beautiful something is, it can’t go on forever.

Fun for the whole family

Ruben told us he was thrilled to see people of all shapes and sizes having fun during the cultural learning experience.

I’m happy to see people from multiple cultures having fun and taking their time to learn something about our traditions. We want people to learn and experience something they will remember. And maybe the next time they see a Kolam in a mall or something, they’ll appreciate the hard work that has gone into something they themselves have already done.

Ruben Prakash.

“At first we were worried because we had never done anything like this before. We were afraid that it would not go well. Gushed Mohd Shahidan from Pulau Indah, who attended the art workshop with her three boys.

(Credit: TRP)

He explained that the event was a fun team-building activity between the family and that he was happy to have had the chance to learn how to do something artistic.

The kids had fun playing with the colors and we learned how to do something with teamwork to create such a beautiful piece of traditional art together.

Mohd Shahidan at TRP.

Whitney and her son Chong Yew Seng from Puchong also had fun learning something new at the workshop.

The mother shared that all the hard work put into completing their project was a great opportunity to teach her son about discipline and how to appreciate other people’s work.

I said – You see, very hard, right? So don’t spoil other people’s decorations.

Whitney at TRP.

Kolam 101

Although we only had to follow a ready-to-use model printed and glued to the floor, we soon realized that achieving the perfect Kolam was definitely harder than it looks!

Choosing the right color combination to use and just keeping the shifting grains within the lines proved to be a real challenge.

But, Kevin said it’s always best for us to start in the middle and work our way outward to keep things organized and just remember to have fun with it. (Easy to say for someone who has over 10 years of experience making Kolam and can do it freehand…)

So that’s exactly what we did: dip our hands in colorful rice and improvise our way making our very first Kolams, to happily take our work home at the end of the program.

(Credit: TRP/its.anne.with.an.e via Instagram)

If you want to learn more about the culture and traditions of making kolam, watch TRP’s short video featuring Ruben Prakash and the Pure Life Society home for underprivileged children made on the occasion of the Deepavali circle of light.


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Akmal Hakim

Akmal Hakim

Typing trending topics and walking the fine line between deep and dumb.


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