Select Page

Diwali in B.C.: A Conversation With Artistic Director, Rohit Chokhani

Diwali in B.C.: A Conversation With Artistic Director, Rohit Chokhani

A Culturally-Relevant Celebration of Diwali

Mumbai-native, Rohit Chokhani, is bringing a new province-wide Diwali celebration to the streets of Metro Vancouver. The idea behind the artistic platform, Diwali in B.C., according to Chokhani, is “not to recreate the Indian celebration of Diwali but to celebrate the new year and South Asian culture in a way that is inclusive and welcoming of other cultures that represent Metro Vancouver.” He felt it important to produce something non-denominational so that anyone of any background who felt drawn to the theatre, dance and film performances could be a part of the conversation. Diwali in B.C. is coming to life through various events taking place from October 14 – November 16, 2017.

When Chokhani left India at the age of 22 for the United States and then Canada, he missed the experiences of celebrating what is also known as the Festival of Lights with family and friends. That personal desire to connect his upbringing with his new identity as an immigrant in the Western world was the catalyst for this initiative. Using his artistic voice as a director and producer was a natural vehicle to pursue this inspiration.

On Shakti, or Feminine Power

The program he has curated centres on the theme of shakti, or feminine power. When asked about the origin of this theme, Chokhani recalled, “There are a few criteria I always watch out for because diversity and inclusivity is very important, so I always program a festival making sure that there is a good distribution of gender equity around it, and I also make sure all cultures are represented…even within the South Asian landscape.” Interestingly, all the works that grabbed his attention this year were put out by women, making the theme ‘feminine power’ come to surface almost on its own. This aligns with Chokhani’s Eastern philosophy which includes the belief that the Divine comes in masculine and feminine forms, just as people – regardless of gender – have masculine and feminine energies.

Important Cultural Conversations Through Art

This spiritual element became the perfect backdrop for cultural conversations around sex trafficking (Honour: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan), society’s responsibility in encouraging certain destructive masculine behaviours (Anatomy of Violence), healing after abuse (Happy Place) and indigenous stories from India that make one reflect on Canadian topics such as reconciliation (Encounter), to name a few. Each performance has the incredible mandate to showcase the capability of women and “leave you with a deeper question that makes you think about life and maybe eventually help you grow as an individual or community,” according to Chokhani.

Diwali in B.C., Rohit Chokhani, Diwali, indian new year, festival of lights, indian celebrations, b.c. events, artist events, surrey 604, taslim jaffer

Image Credit: Kyle Rosenberg

In addition to creating space for these important topics through Diwali in B.C., Chokhani also invests in a secondary project, Project SAT, which he describes as a platform for the next generation of theatre makers. For those who are interested in writing, directing and producing, there are numerous workshops designed to help bring dreams to life. Some of these will be held in conjunction with the Diwali initiative.

For more information about Diwali in B.C. and Jessie Richardson Theatre Award-winner Rohit Chokhani, please visit www.diwalibc.ca.

 

rohit chokhani, diwali in b.c., diwali, indian celebrations, artist events in b.c., taslim jaffer, surrey 604

Rohit Chokhani www.diwalibc.ca

About The Author

Taslim Jaffer

Taslim combines her love of writing and social change by telling the stories that build bridges among people. Her motivating forces are her 3 children and her INFJ personality. Taslim is a regular contributor to Huffington Post Canada and Yummy Mummy Club, and a columnist for Peace Arch News.

She has romantic notions of travel writing across European countrysides and historic African towns but her heart belongs to Surrey, B.C. You can connect with Taslim on Twitter and Instagram @taslimjaffer.

Advertisement




Recent Posts

Mastering Your Business For Maximum Profit & Success Workshop Event

Published 12/9/2017 in Surrey604 Magazine

HUGE HOLIDAY ANNOUNCEMENT – MASSIVE BUSINESS EVENT IN SURREY JANUARY 3rd

This 2-hour event is jam-packed with tools and strategies that you can implement in your business immediately. This is not another fluffy “introductory event” like you may have experienced, it’s designed to get you on the right track to maximizing growth, sales and profit.
This is the first step in getting your Business… read more ❯

Last night I promised you wouldn’t die – I rescind that promise.

Published 12/7/2017 in Surrey604 Magazine

This is the written response to a real event which took place on Tuesday night at the shooting at 148th and 64th. 
Last night I promised you wouldn’t die.

I am now rescinding that promise.

Last night as I was driving home, I came upon what I thought was a car accident scene. I could hear you yelling for help. I could vaguely see your shape lying on the road in the dark.

I saw the… read more ❯

Coffee Lovers – Make Your Next Brew A Level Ground Trade

Published 12/3/2017 in Surrey604 Magazine

level ground trading, fair trade, victoria bc, coffee, taslim jaffer writer, surrey604

Coffee lovers – pay attention!

Stacey Toews and his team at Level Ground Trading are bringing something incredible to the global economy that is lacking in most transactions – something so powerful it changes the way we think about the products we purchase and our consumer impact.

They are bringing the human narrative into the story.

“There is so much of the global economy that has… read more ❯

The World-Wide Inspiration Behind Surrey’s Light Rail Transit

Published 12/3/2017 in Surrey604 Magazine

LRT, light rail transit, transportation city of surrey, city of surrey, taslim jaffer writer, surrey604

Surrey is the second largest city in British Columbia and by 2041 it is expected that another 300,000 residents will be joining our neighbourhoods. One of the top questions from Surrey residents is, “How are we all going to get around?” We want to know what will happen to our roadways and the infrastructure. And we are concerned that if something isn’t put in place soon, we’ll not only be… read more ❯

How Surrey’s Coastal Flooding Affects The Crescent Beach Community

Published 12/3/2017 in Surrey604 Magazine

coastal flooding, crescent beach, city of surrey, taslim jaffer writer, surrey604

Crescent Beach is a unique landmark, a popular destination among residents of Surrey and surrounding areas, and a community with an extensive history. Because of where it’s situated, there have always been changes to its shoreline and beaches from natural forces. The first dyke at Crescent Beach was constructed in 1913 and since then other layers of protection have been added. However, due to… read more ❯