Derby Season Of Light has launched today (Friday October 6) starting an exciting roster of events providing fun activities in the run-up and during half-term.
The annual celebration that will see events unfolding over the course of the final three months of the year, seeks to shine a spotlight on diversity and unite people of all faiths.
Organised by South Asian arts organisation, Surtal Arts, festivals embraced include Diwali, Rabi’ Al-Awwal, Hanukkah, Bonfire Night, Christmas, and the upcoming Chinese New Year, all which share the common theme of light.
Highlights of this year’s festival include an international exhibition at Déda, storytelling sessions, dance and music performances, plus a host of family and school workshops ahead of the spectacular Derby Lantern Parade through the city.
Here is the full list of events that people can look forward to this year.
The Hidden Story of Kantha: Friday October 6 – Saturday December 30
This exhibition will open on October 6 at the Chapel Street venue.
It will showcase the traditional art of Kantha which is embroidery on sustainable fabric.
The intricate designs will weave stories of village life and mythological tales.
This work focuses on the festival’s themes of preserving and celebrating South Asian arts and the art of recycling, whilst empowering the women producing these beautiful works.
Conversation With The Artist – Malika Dudeja Varma: Friday October 20
Indian artist and social entrepreneur Malika Dudeja Varma, who is the artistic lead behind the exhibition, will be the guest of honour at this exclusive event at Déda between 7pm and 8pm.
Following the footsteps of her mother Shamlu Dudeja, Malika has expanded the work of the social enterprise SHE-Kantha Foundation.
It empowers women in rural villages in India to earn a wage by creating exquisite artwork and saris using Kantha, the traditional heritage craft of Bengal, which are now sold around the world.
The evening will finish with a catwalk of some of the unique saris that women artisans of She-Kantha have created.
Online Madhubani Painting Workshop – Date TBC
This two-hour session is run in partnership with the MITHILAsmita Trust in Delhi.
You can learn how to create a traditional Madhubani painting, which is a popular form of Indian folk art.
Lantern Making Workshops – various dates
This is a series of family oriented sessions that will run on Monday October 30, Thursday November 2, and Wednesday November 29.
Activity will take place at Osnabruck Square and QUAD in the Market Place where people of all ages will make their own sustainable lanterns using willow and tissue paper.
The lanterns use energy-efficient LED lights and will be held up on biodegradable bamboo sticks.
Further workshops will be held with pupils at schools across the city who will all make lanterns in preparation for the Derby Lantern Parade on December 2.
Shadow Puppet Making and Storytelling Workshops, Bollywood Performance – Saturday November 4
It will be a day jam packed with creative workshops and funky dance performances, something for the whole family to enjoy.
As well as the chance to make shadow puppets to take home, there are also interactive Bollywood dance workshops where families can learn a captivating but simple routine using hand gestures and hip movements with colourful props.
The artforms will also come together in two daytime intriguing storytelling performances of Apple N Spice by Sanskruti Dance, which is a specially written fairy tale.
You will also get to join the cast onstage at the end for an Indian party.
Diwali Dance Performance – Saturday November 9
This event at Kedleston Hall will tell the mythological story of Diwali with an Indian classical dance performance by artist Priya Sundar.
Priya will show how a solo dancer can transform into multiple characters through intricate rhythmic footwork, movement, facial expressions and hand gestures.
Indian Classical Raga Performance – Saturday November 25
Held at Strutts Community Centre in Belper, this event features rising stars on Britain’s Indian classical music scene.
Akash Parekar will be playing sitar, Sandeep Singh Kandola on sarangi and Harkiran Singh Sahota on tabla.
Lantern Parade – Saturday December 2
The grand finale is the Derby Lantern Parade which starts from St Peter’s Church.
Participants of workshops will be joined by more than 350 pupils at local schools as well as Derby College who have all made their own sustainable lanterns.
The parade will include Chinese dragon performers, Bollywood dancers, dhol players from band Dhol Frequency and rhythms of African drummers by Blue Alchemy who will weave their way into the Market Place.
Surtal Arts’ chair and South Asian dancer, Nisha Nath, said: “Derby Season of Light 2023 is testament to the vibrant tapestry of our city’s culture.
“Through art, music, and festivities, we’re weaving together the threads of our community, celebrating the rich traditions that make us who we are.
“This year, we’re also delving into the captivating world of rural Indian textile art and the art of recycling, further igniting the spark of creativity.”
For more information and to book tickets visit Surtal Arts website here.