Mandala presents Diwali: The story of Ram

MANDALA 1

India Post News Service

MANDALA 2CHICAGO: In celebration of the Indian holiday festival of Diwali, Mandala South Asian Performing Arts, which connects audiences and students with the vibrancy and colors of the performing arts traditions of South Asia, presents a family-friendly performance program combining dance, music, and the 17th century art of Mewar, a region in India. Diwali: The Story of Ram takes place October 8, 2022 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Chicago.

Celebrating the 75th anniversary of Indian independence, this spectacle represents Mandala’s interpretation of the ancient epic Ramayana, a classic tale that spans across cultures, producing a multidimensional performance work that combines contemporary culture and mythology. The tale of Ram, his beloved wife Sita, and his brother Lakshman exiled in the forest—at odds with the brilliant king Ravana—weaves together the multiculturalism of South Asia.

Diwali: The Story of Ram features the Mandala Ensemble of dancers, joined by world-renowned Manganiyar musicians, who perform with traditional string and percussion instruments. In a new element this year, the performance includes a digitally animated backdrop of paintings by the artist Sahib Din, commissioned by the King of Udaipur (historically known as Mewar) to illustrate the sixth book of Ramayana. Sahib Din was a distinguished miniature artist whose work essentially standardized the Mewar school of painting.

Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is India’s most important holiday festival of the year, celebrated by people of many faiths. The festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness. Though Diwali is celebrated differently in different parts of the world, the common theme is the victory of good over evil. (Source: National Geographic)

Mandala connects audiences and students with the vibrancy, flavors, and colors of the performing arts traditions of South Asia, offering powerful engagement with unique and expert dancers, musicians, storytellers, artists, and educators whose origins reach from the Himalayan ranges to the Indian Ocean, from Persia to Indonesia. Mandala’s ensemble dancers and musicians, teaching artists, and artistic collaborators and outreach partners bring folk and classical traditions, as well as current and hybrid innovations, to life. Mandala promotes cultural awareness and exchange through entertainment and education.

MANDALA 3Mandala South Asian Performing Arts is supported by The Richard Driehaus Foundation, the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency and The Field Foundation.

For more information, visit mandalaarts.org.