A colorful Rangoli will be displayed in Springfield Memorial Hospital’s main lobby through May in recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
“At Memorial Health, we are working to create a culture that is welcoming, inclusive and positive,” said Chuck Callahan, the nonprofit hospital’s president and CEO and president of Memorial Health Hospital Group. “These are the same messages traditionally conveyed by Rangoli.”
Rangoli is an ancient North Indian folk art form in which colored rice and powders, sand, spices or flower petals are used to create designs or patterns on a floor. A Rangoli is typically created near the entrance of a home or building as a way to welcome guests and invite blessings.
Sudhir Pai, a project manager at Memorial Health, created the Rangoli at Springfield Memorial Hospital (SMH). Rangoli is a popular art form in India, especially during times of celebration. Pai grew up watching his family and neighbors create Rangoli in their homes.
“It is custom in India, especially in rural parts, for families to create smaller versions of what we have created at SMH in front of the home at the start of the day, and my family follows this custom,” said Pai. “I’m grateful to Memorial Health for making space for the customs of other cultures by providing me an opportunity to display this art form and my skill.”
Pai worked for about three hours to create the Rangoli. He used colored chalk powders to create a unique design – measuring about six feet in diameter – of dots, lines, circles and semi-circles, “cow hoof” [prints] and several types of curves.
“The shapes used in a Rangoli aim to bring balance, remove negativity and fill the environment with positivity,” said Pai.
The recognition and celebration of heritage and history months communicates to Memorial Health employees and patients that each individual is welcome, said Valeria Cueto, Memorial Health’s vice president of equity, diversity and inclusion.
“We are committed to building an inclusive culture that honors diverse identities, and we see that as inextricably tied to our commitment to delivering equitable care,” said Cueto. “We fundamentally believe diversity and inclusion make us stronger, more creative and better able to serve our patients.”
The Rangoli is on display at the hospital until June 1, when it will be ceremoniously dismantled.
“We’re excited to share this art form with our patients, colleagues and visitors,” said Callahan. “We hope it will brighten their day and help educate the public during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.”