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Devonshire Square's Diwali Festival 2019

24/10/2019: 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights, represents a fantastic opportunity for WeWork’s Devonshire Square to celebrate its historic link to India and the magnificence of India’s arts and culture, as well as its delicious cuisine.

On 24th October, from 5pm to 7.30pm, Devonshire Square will be marking this special celebration by hosting in its atmospheric Western Courtyard a FREE attendance festival that showcases some of India’s most traditional visual arts, Rangoli, and a dance show performed by some of the finest Indian folk and classical dancers in UK. 

During the event, guests will also be treated to a complimentary tasting experience of Indian confectionary specialties and canapés, courtesy of Devonshire Square’s iconic Indian restaurant Cinnamon Kitchen, founded by Internationally acclaimed celebrity chef, Vivek Singh

The tasting banquet will include the “Odyssey Rose Nectar”, an exquisitely delicate, velvety drink inspired by traditional Indian rose milk made with pure rose essence, exclusively created for Diwali by Cinnamon Kitchen’s mixology artists. 

Artistic Programme

Traditional Rangoli Art 

The original Rangoli artwork that will decorate the Georgian limestone flooring of Devonshire Square’s Western Courtyard will be created on site by award-winning Rangoli artist Miguel Rajaguru.

For this year’s edition, the artist has been commissioned by Devonshire Square the creation of an artwork representing the strikingly beautiful and rare Kaiser-i-Hind butterfly, a charmingly graceful, endangered insect – which name means “emperor of India” - with a unique green iridescence on its wings which has fascinated scientists from all over the world and which is the subject of extensive research. The species can be found in some areas of the Asian continent, including Eastern Himalayas, West BengalMeghalayaAssamSikkim and Manipur.

Inspired by the meaning of Diwali, which celebrates the triumph of good over evil, the artwork is meant to symbolise rebirth and positive transformation while conveying the topical message of protecting the ecosystems from the impact of human intervention, as this vibrant, delicate creature faces a real threat of extinction due to unsustainable wildlife trading. 

Representing Nature as a fragile treasure to be cherished, the Kaiser-i-Hind butterfly will be created by using the traditional Rangoli method, with natural rainbow-coloured rice powders and a chromatic  dominance of luminous greens, a colour that symbolise hope and that adorns the wings of this beautiful insect in nature.

The artwork will be lit by candles, visual representation of the word Diwali, which literally means 'row of lights'.

Rangoli is an artform originating in the Indian subcontinent in which patterns are created on the floor or the ground using materials such as coloured rice, dry flour, coloured sand or flower petals. It is usually made during Diwali or Tihar and other Hindu festivals. Designs are passed from one generation to the next, keeping both the art form and the tradition alive. 

Indian Classical and Folkloric Dance Show

Renowned London-based dance organization, Akademi South Asian Dance UK,who this year celebrates its 40 anniversary of artistic activity, will present some of the most enlivening and visually engaging routines from the classical, folkloric and tribal Indian dance repertoire, executed by highly accomplished professional dancers from ANKH Dance, Sarjan Nartan Academy and DancenBeats. 

This year’s programme will represent an imaginative journey through the enthralling diversity of Indian regions, from the Western coast to the North of India, whose traditions and legends will be narrated through the language of dance in an aesthetic and captivating way.

The show will include Rajasthani Folk dances, Kathak and Dandiya Raas.

The Rajasthani Folk dance Show will feature Teen Tal and Kalbeliya, two extremely popular folk dances from Rajasthan. 

Teen Tal is a dance that has been taught through generations of Kamada tribe and is now one of the oldest performing arts in the estate. Its execution involves the skilful use of cymbals which are attached to various parts of the dancer’s clothing. Kalbeliya is performed to songs based on folklore and mythology. It is an integral part of any celebration in the Kalbelia tribe. In 2010, the Kalbelia folk songs and dances of Rajasthan were declared a part of its Intangible Heritage List by the UNESCO.

Kathak is a classical dance form from the Northern parts of India. Its journey spans from thousands of years, travelling from the traditions of storytelling to temples and Mughal courts.

The artists will present at Devonshire Square’s Diwali Festival a retrospective exploration of this dance-style, starting with a combination of traditional kathak dances and evolving into a modern kathak, performed on a more contemporary style of music. 

Dandiya Raas is the traditional folk-dance form from Gujarat, mostly performed at harvest festivals and celebrative occasions, to the tune of powerful and dynamic music whose energetic rhythm is marked by drumbeats. The dancers will be seen swirling and moving their feet and arms in intricate choreographies. The performers will dance in pairs while holding Dandiyas - a pair of colourfully decorated sticks - wearing the traditional colourful costumes of the Gujarat region, exquisitely embroidered and decorated with mirror glass and stone beads. 

The Festival has been created, curated and organized by the Devonshire Square Events Team.

The event is FREE attendance, however, registration through Eventbrite is required; to register your attendance, please click here

For further information or if you have a query on the Devonshire Square’s Diwali Festival, please contact the Devonshire Events Team on frontdesk@devonshiresq.co.uk .


Photo credit: © Patrizia Ilaria Sechi