Seven-year-old Vedankita Kuhaluri of Point Cook Victoria and Aadhya Agarwal of Parramatta NSW, 8, have won Indian Link’s Diwali Art Contest for Kids this year.
They took the prizes in their age groups 7 years and below, and 8 years and above, respectively.
Ayaan Thakkar, 7, of Hampton Park Victoria, and Aarav Panicker, 9, of Rouse Hill NSW, have been announced as runners-up in their age groups.
Vedankita and Aadhya will take home book vouchers valued at $75 each, and Ayaan and Aarav will receive $50 vouchers each.
Vedankita’s design will feature on Indian Link’s official Diwali card for 2021. The Year 2 student at Melbourne’s Point Cook P-9 College was thrilled to hear the news.
“I put a lot of thought into it,” she told Indian Link, almost as if she knew she would take the top prize. “I thought about which colours to pick. I like warm colours – red is my favourite.”
She added, “I’ve learned art by myself. My sister does art as well.”
The winning mandala, much like the artist herself, is vibrant and bubbling over with energy.
With its crispness and clarity, it reflects a fresh and hopeful outlook, and a celebratory mood. It will surely resonate as we put lockdown behind us and re-emerge with strength and confidence. The peripheral features of the design are evocative of Diwali fireworks, so the excitement in it is palpable. Equally impressive, was Vedankita’s dedication to detail and neatness in execution.
Dad Vasanth Kuhaluri is a regular follower of Indian Link’s social media, and this is not the first time he has sent his daughters’ entries in for the Diwali Art Contest.
“My girls have varied interests,” he described. “Currently they’re into TikTok dancing, alongside their Carnatic vocal which was introduced to them many months ago and which they kept up via Zoom sessions. But art was our favourite activity to keep them occupied in lockdown.”
The Kuhaluri girls made the news last year when they recited to perfection all twenty shlokas in Chapter 12 of the Bhagavad Gita.
Aadhya Agarwal’s exuberant and intricate design took the top spot in the 8-12 years category.
“I painted in many different combinations of colours and then picked the one I liked best,” the Year 2 student at Parramatta Public School explained.
She and her sister Anika (who also made it to the Top Ten), are old hands at mandala paintings. Anika, 12, has made large mandalas on canvas.
“I love painting mandalas because they relax me,” Aadhya said. “My mum just bought me a whole book of patterns to colour in.”
Nupoor Goyal, Aadhya’s mum, revealed, laughing, “Your mandala just took over for eight days. Each night from 8.30 to about 10pm, the girls would be engrossed in their colouring, experimenting and comparing and contrasting. I now own ten different versions!”
Dad Bhagwan added, “I would wonder why such a lot of energy was being invested in this activity. But I’m so pleased – both girls seem to be drawn to art and creativity and often surprise me. Looking back, I remember seeing Aadhya spark up when she finished her final mandala – it was like she knew she had found the one she wanted to send in.”
In its tenth edition this year, 238 entries came in for the kids’ art competition, up significantly from last year. Perhaps we have lockdown to thank for this increase, although the contest has grown steadily in popularity. One entry was received from India, two from Bhutan, and two from Kuwait.
This activity is aimed at the youngest members of our community to include them in the spirit of Diwali in a manner that resonates with them.