The Never Ending Line I and II and III

Ephemeral threshold drawings have been made by women for hundreds of years in various parts of India. They are called rangoli, kolam, muggu, alpana etc. depending on the region. These ritual drawings can be highly mathematical, symmetric and intricate. I chose to visualize mitochondrial DNA, a significant part of the human genome that is solely inherited from the mother. Mitochondria generates the energy driving all life and has been transmitted for millions of years exclusively through women. Handed down over generations of women, purely through observation and expansion, the making of these drawings has survived immense changes in culture and location. I borrow this form to talk about how one can find a continuum within change and recognize the value of an embodied knowledge handed down through our lineage. The two sand drawings on black canvas are 5’ X5’ placed on a platform off the floor.

The Never Ending Line III: (Video projection and mirror)

A kolam consists of a grid of dots around which a single line is drawn. The line starts at one end, loops around the dots sinuously and connects back to the starting point after innumerable turns and bends. These patterns are often challenging and confusing and require great concentration. Patterns are handed down from one generation to the other. They signify unity and harmony in all of creation. In this work, I used a video recording of a woman making a kolam but edited it in a way that suggests a never ending line- a continuum that is cyclical and inherent both in the looping line and the looping video. The mathematical complexity that is present in the process and the feeling of disorientation in a field of dots and lines is enhanced by the multiplication through mirroring. I remember making these with my grandmother and getting lost and disoriented- much like who I feel sometimes in a new place.