Queens Park Arts Centre is hosting a Rangoli exhibition to celebrate the Indian Festival of Diwali (lights).
The work has been designed and created by Nilesh and Bhavna Prajapati, with some help from friends and family.
Rangoli is a traditional Indian art form with spiritual significance, made using coloured sand or rice flour.
In India designs are often made daily on the doorsteps of houses throughout Diwali.
This exhibition, which also features examples of other Indian art works, runs until Friday November 16.
For more details visit http://www.qpc.org
Exhibition spokesman Amar Varia explained:
Fireworks, Rangoli, Mithai and lavish meals; these are just a few images that spring to mind when talking about Diwali. With the festive period right around the corner, I’ve been thinking about what Diwali 2012 means to me – a second generation British Indian approaching 30.
As a youngster, I looked forward to the presents and fireworks – name a child that wouldn’t! My mother and nana used to teach me the Ramayan – which I’d then tell my friends at school. We’d visit and host family, the whole experience was exciting for us growing up.
More recently however, I’ve become more aware of the deeper spiritual meaning of Diwali by placing focus on the awareness of our inner light. I once read the following quote by Sri Swami Sivananda which set me onto exploring the spiritual path: “Realise the constant and eternal light of the Soul, which neither rises nor sets.” This always reminds me that we all have a powerful weapon within us - the soul and how we have the ability to look within it to illuminate and expel the darkness within us such as ignorance, greed, envy, jealousy etc.
It was amazing to see Barak Obama repeat a similar message a few year years back, not only being the first US President to recognise Diwali in such a way but also taking time to embrace the spiritual side of the celebration.
Last year, I had the luxury of experiencing Diwali in India for the first time. As you can imagine, the festivities were on another level with professional grade fireworks constantly bursting over a span of three days with no break! Nationwide, even if you were in the most remote village, you would have been unable to escape the celebrations.
Despite the extravagance and joy, I still seemed to long for the uniqueness of a humble British Diwali. I couldn’t help but look around and feel that despite India’s step up to being dubbed a future superpower, there are still millions under the poverty line. There are still millions being forced to deal with issues like corruption, untouchability, casteism and medical malpractices. In spite of the doom and gloom mentioned above, this year for India there is a person who has, in my opinion, illuminated the world with his bright soul.
That person is Aamir Khan. Using his influence, he’s created not only a talk show but a movement. With Satyamev Jayate, he has raised concerns over issues that no one else has dared and sparked citizens across the country to stand up and act.
Visiting India from abroad, it’s easy to point out the flaws. It’s easy to say there are so many rich people that have made it, why don’t they improve the country. Sometimes big changes have to come from education, not money. Educating everyone from the common man to the middle class can potentially be a million times more valuable than simply throwing money at a situation.
When a celebrity uses their talent and power to achieve something for the common man, thanks is truly deserved. It’s even more deserved in the current economic climate where celeb status and their role within society may be thrown into question by critics.
This Diwali I’ll be spending time with my family, reflecting on 2012 and remembering our grandfather, Mohanlal Prajapati who passed away last December – another man whose inner light illuminated the lives of those around him with good deeds and words.
Whether you’ll be celebrating the triumph of Lord Ram, Sri Krishna’s slaying of Narakasura, honouring Lakshmi or inner reflection, I hope you all have a wonderful Diwali full of giving, forgiveness and unity.