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Diwali At The Museum Of Fine Arts

Press Release

Welcome to Diwali at the MFA on November 2nd, the ancient Festival of Lights observed around the world by many cultures and religions. On Diwali, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains—some of the world’s oldest religions—light a diya (oil lamp) with family and friends, celebrating the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil.

Tour the galleries exploring highlights from the collection of South Asian art, watch festive performances of classical dance and folk dance, and make art with artist and educator Sunanda Sahay.

Free admission begins at 4 pm.

Special Events

Art Making: Good Fortune Ganesha
5–9 pm | Gallery 268
Find Ganesha, the god of good fortune, in Gallery 176. Upstairs in Gallery 268, create your own paper sculpture of Ganesha to celebrate Diwali.

Story Illuminated: Words and Dance for the Divine
6–6:45 and 7:30–8:15 pm | Remis Auditorium
Journey to 16th-century India with a story of Hindu temple dancers with a unique blend of classical kathak dance and the written word. Author Anjali Mitter Duva presents excerpts from her book, Faint Promise of Rain, while dancer Anjali Nath brings the story to life. With members of the Chhandika Youth Ensemble, Mike Jarjoura on sitar, and Rajesh Pai on tabla. Followed by a short Q&A session.
Free performance tickets are available at Remis Auditorium Box Office starting 30 minutes before show times. First come, first served; limited availability. Free performance ticket required for entry.

Artist Demonstration and Art Making: Madhubani Painting
6–9 pm | Education Center in Druker Family Pavilion, Rooms 159 and 160
Join artist and educator Sunanda Sahay as she demonstrates Madhubani, or Mithila, painting—a style from northern India. Make your own art inspired by her work and themes related to Diwali. Drop in anytime to meet the artist and make art; presentations and demos at 6, 7, and 8:30 pm.

Drawing in the Galleries
6–9 pm | Gallery 177
Get drawing tips and ideas as you sketch from a live model and objects in the galleries.

Odissi Classical Dance and Sambalpuri Folk Dance
7 and 8 pm | Shapiro Family Courtyard
Experience the art and culture of Odisha, India, located in the eastern part of the country. Watch a performance of Odissi classical dance, then a performance of Sambalpuri folk dance, and finally enjoy a display of prints and visual treats to learn more about Odisha. Presented in partnership with Odisha Society of America.

Tours and Talks

Spotlight Talks
6, 6:30, and 7:15 pm | Gallery 103
Learn about the sarangi, an Indian fiddle, on a 15-minute talk with Jayme Kurland, curatorial research fellow, Musical Instruments.

Gallery Tours
6:15, 7, and 7:45 pm | Meet at the Sharf Visitor Center
Enjoy a 30-minute tour exploring three highlights from the MFA’s collection of South Asian art.

Talk: Diwali in Boston and Beyond
7–8 pm | Gallery 168
Join this discussion to hear about the history and impact of Diwali, how it is celebrated in Boston, and around the world.


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