Vibrant Deepavali sangamam

The Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society's (SIFAS) annual Deepavali celebrations saw a first this year: 15 organisations joining it to stage Raise Your Light.

The three-day physical and online event from Nov 27 had an art exhibition, art and savoury-making competitions and music and dance performances featuring gurus, students, alumni and parents.

"Sangamam, which means confluence, was truly brought alive as myriad Indian cultural threads came together to light up these times," said Mr K.V. Rao, president, SIFAS.

"Each Indian association proved to be a colourful torch bearer of its arts. We discovered we have a treasure of Indian arts in Singapore."

The participating organisations were AKT International, Kannada Sangha, Singapore Telugu Samajam, Maharashtra Mandal Singapore, Bengali Association Singapore, Gujarati Association Singapore, Singapore Malayalee Association, Tagore Society Singapore, Singapore Khalsa Association, Kodava Community and Soorya Singapore.

The supporting organisations were the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Singapore Indian Development Association, Little India Shopkeepers' and Heritage Association and Pravasi Express.

Twenty-two artists took part in the art exhibition, which displayed works in Kalamkari, Madhubani, Tanjore, Kerala mural, Gondh, pencil, acrylic, oil and water colour. It was followed by an art competition and a savoury-making competition

SIFAS trustee Shabbir Hassanbhai inaugurated the event. The opening day had a mix of Hindustani and Carnatic music and classical dance performances by SIFAS gurus and alumni.

Celebrated Bengali actress Rituparna Sengupta, who lives in Singapore, was the chief guest on the second day, which had musical performances by SIFAS students and alumni.

Former Nominated Member of Parliament and Hindu Endowments Board Vice-Chairman R. Dhinakaran was the chief guest on the concluding day, which had classical dance performances, such as Bharatnatyam, Kathak and Kuchipudi and a folk dance - Dandiya.

The evening ended with the bursting of crackers to mark the joyous Deepavali celebrations.

About 80 people witnessed the programme each day at the SIFAS auditorium, which was decorated by parent volunteers with Mandala artwork, rangoli and a miniature fort representing the triumph of Indian king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

"The Deepavali Sangamam was not only a great musical, art and culture event but also an oasis of hope and light for the community in this tough Covid-19 scenario," said Mr Maneesh Tripathi, vice-chairman, SICCI.

"I was very touched to see both pride and affection in the eyes of gurus and parents when the students performed in an amazing manner.

"Kudos to SIFAS, the organising committee and all the participants for producing a vibrant show and keeping the Indian culture alive."

Ms Sengupta said she was heartened to "see everyone performing with so much grit and confidence in front of their esteemed gurus".

"It made me nostalgic and brought back fresh memories from my childhood days when I used to perform radiantly on stage," she added.

"I felt a sense of bonding and strong connection between the teachers and the students.

"As an artiste, I felt extremely satisfied and fulfilled attending the beautiful programme."



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