Diwali art project aims to bridge divides

Artist Ranbir Kaur is leading a community arts project in South Shields as part of Diwali celebrations.
Artist Ranbir Kaur is leading a community arts project in South Shields as part of Diwali celebrations.

An arts project in South Tyneside is aiming to bridge a cultural divide.

Women from the borough and across the region are coming together to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights.

Artist Ranbir Kaur is leading a community arts project in South Shields as part of Diwali celebrations.

Artist Ranbir Kaur is leading a community arts project in South Shields as part of Diwali celebrations.

The women will work together on community arts project, The Light Project, and launch an exhibition, My Diwali Home.

The project has been spearheaded by South Shields-based women’s charity Sangini and is being developed in partnership with ArtsConnect studio,
 in Talbot Road, South Shields.

It aims to raise awareness of the cultural festival.

People taking part will learn how to do Rangoli, a traditional art of decorating the floor with colourful sand, flowers, rice and lentils.

The project has exceeded all expectations and now reaches out to 400 young people and 30 women through participatory sessions from various parts in South Tyneside to Washington and Sunderland City.

Margaret Dobson, co-chair of Sangini

They’ll be taught the craft by artist Ranbir Kaur, from Birmingham, who is the principal artist on the project.

Margaret Dobson, co-chairwoman of Sangini, said: “The project has exceeded all expectations and now reaches out to 400 young people and 30 women through participatory sessions from various parts in South Tyneside to Washington and Sunderland City.

“It has brought new partners on board, such as the Arts Centre Washington and Software Centre, Sunderland who have invited Sangini to help co-ordinate Diwali events at their venues.

“This shows how popular this project has been with everyone.”

Artist Ranbir Kaur is leading a community arts project in South Shields as part of Diwali celebrations.

Artist Ranbir Kaur is leading a community arts project in South Shields as part of Diwali celebrations.

The project will begin with an exhibition at the Makaan gallery at ArtsConnect, which will be transformed into an Indian home during the Diwali festival.

A large Rangoli installation will be presented along with personal objects, crafts and textiles produced by international artist Ranbir.

During her two-week residency, Ranbir will work with a local artist, Miki Z, to look at contemporary drawing and Rangoli practice.

Ranbir has also been asked to create a Rangoli for Arts Centre Washington as part of the project.

The exhibition will open on Friday, November 13, and will be launched by the Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Richard Porthouse, and will be open to the public from Monday, November 16, to Friday, December 18.

The project is supported through grants from the Port of Tyne Action Fund, the Community Foundation, Arts Council England and Sherburn Trust.