Diwali- Ephemeral Habitat

My initial idea for this project was to create on a habitat that represented most of the living situations in the country that I am native to- India. The objective of this project was to occupy a drawing desk in our studio and explore the many ways in which the desk can be reimagined as an inhabited space.  I knew from the beginning that i wanted that to just be an abstract to my actual creation- as this class’ focus is on culture I found it fit to include a depiction of a setting from my culture. I started out by focusing on living situations in India and tried to represent what I felt into the design element of my piece. These living situations/ conditions were mainly very close to one another, clustered around. The words/phrases that I associated to this idea that wanted to create a piece from were cluster, lack of space to breathe, minimal room for movement. Having this idea in mind, I created some draft plans for construct. However after some deliberation and evaluation I decided to focus on the cultural element of the Indians- looking at how culture and habitat can be represented from a different perspective. I thought of how a particular festival/tradition can bring together a community and form a habitat around it. The festival that I decided to have my piece embody is Diwali.

Diwali is the festival of lights, a celebration of a new year. It symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. In Hinduism, light is a metaphor for knowledge and consciousness. During this particular festival, temples, home, shops and temples are brightly illuminated. In the lead-up to Diwali, celebrants will prepare by cleaning, renovating, and decorating their homes and workplaces. Diyas (oil lamps or candles) are lit to illuminate the interior and exterior of people’s homes and offer worship to the goddess of prosperity and wealth, Lakshmi. Floor decorations are also made to celebrate this festival and to accompany the Diya’s that are place all around the house. When the gathering takes place there is a commemoration that is made around this object. The main storyline behind my piece is about the communities that this piece brings around. It’s a piece that is used to celebrate the new year around family and loved ones. With this piece, I offer a habitat that oscillates around a pivot offering light and warmth in its material (wood) to whomever is present around it.


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