Diwali art collaboration at St Albans museum

Preet Cox has been instrumental in setting up an arts collaboration to mark Diwali in St Albans.

Preet Cox has been instrumental in setting up an arts collaboration to mark Diwali in St Albans. - Credit: Preet Cox

An inaugural art collaboration between schools, a local artist and St Albans Museum + Gallery is set to celebrate the festival of Diwali in style.

Preet Cox, who set up the St Albans Rainbow Trail Facebook group during the first Covid lockdown, said: "It’s the first arts-based initiative celebrating Diwali at St Albans Museum + Gallery.

"It came about after a Diwali window trail last year - which involved St Albans residents colouring in Divali symbols - gained real interest from St Albans residents."

Diwali celebrates the idea that good will overcome bad in the same way that a candle provides brightness in dark times, and a giant Rangoli design made by children from six St Albans schools will be displayed on the museum floor.

Rangoli is colourful designs  using coloured rice powder. Another form of Rangoli pattern is Mendhi which is used to decorate hands and feet during festivals and weddings.

Photography of families in the St Albans district celebrating Diwali will be showcased alongside the artwork.

Preet said: "I am so excited to be facilitating this between schools and the museum as sometimes I feel that I get placed in the category of BAME but that everybody is so much more individual than that.

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"There is a stereotype that all brown people are one religion or that we have the same interests and that is not the case. 

"We are a whole variety  of ethnicity, religion, upbringing, lived experiences and I think it's really important that we all have a voice.

"As well as Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and some Buddhists also celebrate Diwali and I really want people to know that there are lots of different back stories to the festival but that ultimately it is about light over darkness."

"I am really excited about this collaboration with the six schools involved and St Albans Museum + Gallery who are so keen to help members of the community share in this festival.

"I want to help children and youth get together to showcase their arts and develop empathy, tolerance and understanding of each other's beliefs and of none."

Garden Fields, Aboyne Lodge, Skyswood, Wheatfield Infants, How Wood Primary and Bernards Heath are all taking part in the project. 

During the week before on October 27, there will be a children's art Diwali workshop at the Museum + Gallery where youngsters can take part in activities such as decorating elephants and diva lamps. 

A diva lamp is a traditionally a small clay pots filled with ghee or oil, containing a cotton wick which symbolises light over darkness. 

The artwork will be displayed in the museum's assembly room from November 4 - the day of Diwali - until November 7 and the museum will be lit up in different colours over this period to mark the festival.