patterns

social commentary

digital design

projects

Riya’s initial interest in mehndi (henna) patterns was sparked after attending a traditional bridal mehndi ceremony in India in 2009. She was enamored by the apparent ease at which these intricate patterns steadily flowed from the hands of the mehndiwallis. She was particularly intrigued by the age-old custom of hiding the groom’s name or initials within the henna designs. Riya took to a sharpie and piece of paper, and let the patterns flow-no pencil lines, no planning. She hid text, such as her name, and then discovered she could hide shapes, which, if filled with the appropriate patterns or forms, could convey a story or a message. Using her bedroom door as her first large-scale canvas in 2011, these patterns have since become her first-language and signature style of visual expression.

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