Let there be light

Every year, during the darkest phase in the Hindu calendar, crowds of people gather for Diwali, the celebration of light over darkness, goodness over evil, knowledge over ignorance.

It is an optimistic time of the year in which new clothes are brought, houses cleaned, candles lit and prayers said, in hope for a prosperous year ahead. This year the Wellington City Council, in partnership with the Asia New Zealand Foundation, hosted the events which begun with Garba, a spectacular evening of Indian dance, and culminated in Mala, a market day. As the oldest civilisation, Indian society is firmly rooted in hands-on traditions that have been practiced the world over. A country of vast diversity, India truly is the authentic article, and we aimed to represent this through our promotional material. Our focus on hands comes from their significance in daily Indian life – cooking, crafting, giving, praying. During important events such as Diwali, the hand is emphasised through adornment, becoming a meaningful symbol of celebration.

With the help of the local Indian community, we photographed decorated hands against the vibrant backgrounds of turmeric and paprika. These images capture the gestures of the people who bring Diwali to life. During the lead up to the festival, the posters have held prominence in Wellington, brightening up the streets, and acting as a colourful indication of the events to come.

This years Diwali demonstrated the enthusiasm and passion Indians have for sharing their way of life. Mala, the main event, was an aggravation of the senses in the best way possible – a thick stroke of colour and spice, elaborate clothes, swarming crowds and busy stalls. With the smell of turmeric permeating throughout the waterfront, it was an event that, like Indian culture, refused to go unnoticed.

Asia New Zealand Foundation