Light is used as a symbol by cultures and religions all over the world, representing goodness, love, truth, knowledge, faith and life itself. In Hinduism, it is particularly celebrated with lamps and fireworks during Diwali, the ‘Festival of Lights’. It is also a central feature in Christian rituals, and has become an expressive medium for many Western European artists.
In 2008 the National Gallery produced the Festival of Light trail ,exploring the use of light in different traditions. The trail takes seven National Gallery paintings as a starting point.
As part of Diwali celebrations in 2008, the Anapurna Dance Company performed a series of dances responding to National Gallery paintings. A short film from this performance is included in the exhibition.
National Gallery Education has extended the discussion and sharing of cultures which the celebrations and trail inspired, running a wide range of learning and creativity projects. This exhibition presents some of the work produced by participants of all ages and experiences.
Whether they were drawing, painting, writing or making prints, people often expressed their pleasure and strong sense of achievement. They join around 210,000 others who take part in learning and creativity sessions run by National Gallery Education every year, many of which are free of charge.