A cultural project based, based at High House Production Park, Purfleet opened proceedings at Diwali celebrations in central London last weekend.
Last Sunday, October 15, colourful banners from Purfleet, Tilbury and East Tilbury, along with all the other Silk River scrolls, took a leading role in the Mayor of London’s annual Diwali celebration in Trafalgar Square, the Hindu festival of lights.
As previously reported by this paper, the banners form part of the Silk River project; a year-long programme marking the 70th anniversary of Indian independence and the cultural relationship with the UK, Kinetika, the art studio. have created an ambitious project which explores the unique relationship between London and Kolkata through artistic exchange between communities along the Thames Estuary and India’s Hooghly River.
Around 35,000 came to central London for the event, which has been hosted at Trafalgar Square on 16 occasions. This time, the festivities kicked off with a colourful procession of the Silk River scrolls, accompanied by drummers from the London School of Dhol and dancers wearing brightly coloured saris. Each of the scrolls was carried proudly by representatives from that area, with Ali Pretty from Kinetika, representing Purfleet, Les Morgan for Tilbury and Mike Ostler for East Tilbury.
Once the opening procession was over the banners were displayed around the festival site for the crowd to admire, and Trafalgar Square was transformed with a colourful and vibrant mix of music, dance and live performance for the rest of the day, including a broadcast from the BBC Asian Network.
Londoners from all communities and visitors to the capital were invited to attend the celebrations and the sunny setting was the perfect atmosphere for people from around the world to join in the dancing at a one of the country’s most recognisable locations.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “During this wonderful festival of lights, we come together to share the story of Rama and Sita, to light candles in our homes, and to pay tribute to the warmth and generosity of our Hindu, Sikh and Jain brothers and sisters. Friends and families reflect on the past year together, and mark the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and friendship over enmity.
“Diwali’s central message of peace and mutual respect is one that we can all learn from. It reminds us that London succeeds when London is open to all.
“From my family to yours, Happy Diwali.”