New York Times features Jugnu Verma

‘The Art and Ritual of Rangoli’

Jugnu and her daughter create rangoli art at their Lexington home. New York Times photo.

The morning the New York Times published a story on the traditional Indian holiday Diwali being observed worldwide today.

Hub readers might recognize one of its subjects: 2021 Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award recipient Jugnu Verma (right).

Verma was visited by a photographer this summer in preparation for the story, for which she was interviewed by phone. Excellent images resulting from that visit accompany Anna P. Kambhampaty’s story. Access the story with this link; a subscription or login might be required.

Here’s an excerpt:

“The Christmas tree is to Christmas as rangoli is to Diwali,” Jugnu Verma, an artist and arts educator in Columbia, S.C., said in a recent phone interview. “It’s incomplete without it.”

While making rangoli can be celebratory, it is also a daily ritual for many women in India and throughout the diaspora — a tradition that grounds them in challenging times. Ms. Verma, 40, who has been making rangoli for three decades, said the focus required to make rangoli “helps develop meditative power.”

Kambhampaty did a great job focusing on Verma’s rangoli art. Our feature on Verma for the South Carolina Arts Awards has more about Verma and why she was a worthy recipient of the Folk Heritage Award, which is presented with McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina. (There’s also a video.)


Readers, remember that the deadline to nominate worthy traditional artists like Jugnu Verma for their own Folk Heritage Award is tomorrow, Nov. 5 at 11:59 p.m. ET!