New Photo Exhibit Captures Indian Festivals in Florida

A new photo exhibit opening this week in the John C. Hitt Library opens a window into the connection between Indian festivals and Central Florida.

The more than 30 photos, commissioned by the Asian Cultural Association (ACA), follow more than a year of Indian festivals, including Holi, the Festival of Colors, and Navratri Garba. The exhibit, co-sponsored by the ACA and the UCF India Center in the School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs, closes July 31.

The two photographers are Priyanka Chandra, ’17, a UCF alumna with a degree in Marketing and Integrated Business, and Sharan Sathya, a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Chandra is an Orlando native who found that religious festivals kept her connected to her Indian heritage.

“We can keep traditions alive even though we’re far away from India,” Priyanka said. “I grew up going to these events, and I never felt far from home.”

The colorful photos capture intimate and worshipful moments in ceremonies from around different regions of India.  Sathya is a self-taught photographer growing his own business. The key to capturing those candid shots is projecting your genuine self and building connections with your subject, Sathya said.

“When they see who you really are it builds trust from the get-go,” Sathya said.

The Asian Cultural Association encourages the preservation of the performing, visual and media arts traditions of Asia. Photo exhibits like “Indian Festivals In Florida” are also used to showcase the arts and culture of India.

Asian Cultural Association is an organization that has been part of Orlando for over 25 years. ACA encourages the preservation of the performing, visual and media arts traditions of Asia. The goal is to expose audiences to contemporary Asian artists.

“We are thrilled with the new partnership of ACA with the India Center at UCF,” said Jasbir Mehta, ACA president.

Pegasus Professor and Director of the School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs Kerstin Hamann, Ph.D, said, “I am delighted that the India Center and the Asian Cultural Association have partnered to make this exhibit possible. The photos showcase the different traditions that are at the heart of many of the Indian festivals in the Central Florida region, and provide an example of the cultural richness of India.”

The India Center at UCF focuses on India’s role in the world today and forms partnerships between the U.S. and India, scholarship and research on India, India-centered educational programs and outreach to the Indian community in Florida.


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