This weekend, we all came together to show how we celebrate the most important party in our lives. The successful opening of the exhibition Feest! i.e. PARTY! in Gemeente Leeuwarden gave me new energy.

In February, the museum approached me asking if I could advise them on creating a Divali installation and 9 months later, I walk through the museum and see 12 incredible festive installations of different cultures, (religious) traditions and pivotal moments in a human life like a birthday celebration.

The Fries Museum & Keramiekmuseum Princessehof has done an excellent job of putting together a wonderful exhibition where participation is the most important factor. The audience attends 12 different dining tables. How great is that?

Curator Laura Smeets aptly put it in a live television (Omroep Friesland) interview that people give you a true peek into their souls during celebrations, and that eating together is an important human ritual to feel the connection. And I explained why Divali is so meaningful for me.

To celebrate Divali a performance was given by Aruna, Sjaam Hira & Prewien Pandohi-Mishre. They sang beautiful Divali songs.

I was blown away by the kindness of all the people involved in this celebration project. It was easy to exchange stories about lifestyles and family traditions. I experienced Oneness in unexpected encounters; a churchwarden who has 900 Christmas cribs, an Islamic historian who knows about Morocco’s influence on Yves Saint Laurent’s fashion collection and an adorable 5-year-old girl who imagined I was a princess because I was wearing golden high heels. These crucial connections are what make us human!

Having said all this, my most proudest moment this weekend was witnessing a big smile on the face of my mentor and television father Chander as he was holding his wife Maina while looking up at a king-sized action picture. He was doing the dishes and she was serving the food.

This intimate Divali moment was so wonderfully captured by photographer David Vroom. He photographed all the participants of this exhibition. You can visit exhibition FEEST! untill august 2023.

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