Street artist covers Lincoln in Indian culture

Visitors and local residents in Lincoln have been captivated by traditional Indian culture with a unique art display in Castle Hill.

Janak Chauhan, originally from India, took to Castle Square to display the traditional Indian art of Rangoli with marble powder.

Janak, now living in Nettleham, near Lincoln, moved to England with his artist wife in 2001 and started doing exhibitions for her work.

In 2004, Janak was invited by the British Museum to display his work and has been showcasing his talent across the UK ever since.

“I started practicing Rangoli in 2004 and my very first commissioned work came from the British Museum and since then it has expanded.

“I’ve done the British Museum twice now, I’ve also been to Leicester Mela and of course here in the City of Lincoln,” said Janak.

This is not his first visit to Lincoln; Janak has been a regular feature in the city for the last three years, using the backdrop of Lincoln Cathedral and Lincoln Castle to compliment the artwork.

Rangoli artist Janak Chauchan is originally from India and lives in Nettleham, near Lincoln. Photo: Dale Benton for The Lincolnite

Rangoli artist Janak Chauchan is originally from India and lives in Nettleham, near Lincoln. Photo: Dale Benton for The Lincolnite

“This is the heart of Lincoln for both tourists and locals. People come up Steep Hill and stop to catch their breath and I give them something beautiful and unique to look at,” Janak said.

Rangoli is a traditional folk art originating from India and is used as a symbol of religious and cultural beliefs.

The symbols are created with marble powder and can also be done with sand and even starch powder, but Janak uses marble to make his patterns stand out.

“I use white marble – milky white. I generally do it with a colour background to make the marble stand out but I can’t do it here, as if it rains the powder will stain the cobbled pathway.”

The unique patterns have many different cultural significances, with it being considered an important part of spirituality in Indian life.

Used for decoration, Rangoli often coincides with the celebration of Indian new year or Diwali – the Indian Festival of Lights.

“Here in England I do it because people enjoy it; I do it at all special occasions like weddings and anniversaries. People tell me to write their names in amongst the symbols, birthdays and special messages.

Janak Chauchan uses marble power for his street art, which washes away in the rain. Photo: Dale Benton for The Lincolnite

Janak Chauchan uses marble power for his street art, which washes away in the rain. Photo: Dale Benton for The Lincolnite

Each symbol has a different meaning. When the symbols have lines within them, it is to show the serpent crawling in the sand, which in turn represents the flowing of life.

After three years of coming to Lincoln, Ranak has nothing but praise for the city and the people he meets: “Many people here in Lincoln are good natured. The White Hart Hotel accommodate me well and Lincoln BIG also look after me when I’m here.

“Rangoli symbols have many different meanings but to me at the end of the day something should look good for people to enjoy and hopefully it will make everybody happy,” he said.

Rangoli artist Janak Chauchan writes The Lincolnite in marble power. Photo: Dale Benton for The Lincolnite

Rangoli artist Janak Chauchan writes The Lincolnite in marble powder. Photo: Dale Benton for The Lincolnite