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Diwali Celebration Programs At MFA

Geetha Patil

Diwali - an ancient festival of lights was celebrated at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 evening by providing free admission to the several hundred visitors for their special Diwali cultural and educational events. Diwali Program included multiple music and dance performances, interactive artist demonstrations depicting Diwali decoration activities, enlightening tours& talks in the galleries exploring highlights from the collection of South Asian art, and much more.

On Diwali, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains light diyas (oil lamps) with family and friends, celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over the evil. So, MFA requested the New England community to join them in the celebration of grand Diwali since it is a venue for festive social events, and cultural celebrations that are great for kids and adults and provides a stage for different communities and various groups to showcase their talents and learn from each other. As an important aspect of Diwali, there was a brief talks exploring the highlights of South Asian art, including Ganesh, the auspicious elephant-headed Hindu deity known as the “remover of obstacle”.

In the Riley Seminar Room, CEO and founder Sailaja Joshi read Let’s Celebrate Diwali, written by Anjali Joshi and illustrated by Tim Palin. Audiences enjoyed an interactive drawing activity and book signing with Tim. Award-winning artist and educator, Sunanda Sahay demonstrated Madhubani, or Mithila, painting—a traditional art form from northern India at the Education Center in Druker Family Pavilion of the Museum followed by a Q & A session on Sahay’s techniques and inspirations. Another artist and educator Sneha Shrestha exhibited “Mindful Mandalas.”  Shrestha, collaborated with young artists from the Museum’s Community Arts Initiative Partners to create a wall mural inspired by mandalas. Ms. Laura Weinstein, Ananda Coomaraswamy Curator of South Asian and Islamic Art introduced the artist to the audiences.

Young dancers from a local nonprofit South Asian Nation showed off the latest Bollywood moves at the Shapiro Family Courtyard. Ms. Arthi Vijayakumar showed rhythmic movements of storytelling of Kuchipudi dance form originating from Andhra Pradesh, India. She also performed an interactive audience dance lesson.  Dazzling young girls from Chhandika Institute of Kathak (Boston) and Chhandam Nritya Bharati (Mumbai) presented Kathak – a dynamic dance form of northern India. This troupe told the audiences the ancient stories through sophisticated rhythms, nuanced footwork, poetry, and music.

For the young children, activities like making own diyas out of clay and decorating them with colorful beads were arranged by the MFA team members. Children were also taught to make Toran/garland-like decorations out of leaves and marigold flowers to adorn the doors of homes during Diwali.

Subcontinental Drift (SubDrift) Boston, part of a national movement building South Asian creative community, for showcasing music, poetry, and dance was organized its Diwali cultural show at Remis Auditorium, MFA. The talented members of this group and other special invitees reflected on how Diwali and the arts create social and spiritual uplift.

One of the audiences told the reporter that she loves coming to MFA every year for Diwali program. The programs here are fabulous because of very helping nature of entire staff of the MFA.

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