Schoolchildren have been creating colourful artwork ahead of Diwali, the festival of lights, next month.

Artist Jayamini de Silva showed youngsters at Cleves Cross Primary and Nursery School in Ferryhill how to produce their very own rangoli art.

Made using brightly coloured powders, rangoli features beautiful patterns and is often created for Hindu celebrations, including Diwali, which starts on Thursday, 4 November.

The workshop is part of a special programme created by Durham County Council, the local Hindu community, Durham University international students and the arts agency GemArts to help children discover more about Hinduism.

It is also linked to County Durham’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2025 and the new Durham Global Alliance, which aims to increase opportunities for children and young people to travel and learn about other cultures.

Cllr Watts Stelling, Chairman of Durham County Council, who attended the workshop, said: “It was wonderful to see the children so excited and inspired. Diwali is an important and uplifting festival and the artwork the children helped to create was so colourful, it really captured their imagination.

“Teaching children about global cultures and religions is incredibly important as it promotes respect, friendship and understanding. That is why diversity and internationalism are key themes within County Durham’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2025. We want to deliver even more programmes like this and show the world what a vibrant and welcoming place our county is.”

Alison Lazenby, headteacher at Cleves Cross Primary and Nursery School, said:We are always looking for engaging ways we can share with our children the diversity of our world, and taking part in the rangoli workshop has really brought the celebration of Diwali to life.”

As well as the workshop, a special film was created last year showing Hindu families preparing for Diwali. It also offered a glimpse inside a Hindu temple in Newcastle.

The film, Diwali – a very local celebration, has been made available to County Durham schools. Pupils can also put questions to Veena Soni, director of English as an Additional Language (EAL) and Diversity Solutions, during an online question and answer session on Wednesday 3 November.

In addition to this, the council’s international relations team has provided extra geography resources about India.

To find out more about Durham Global Alliance, visit

For more information about County Durham’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2025 and how to get involved with the Durham 2025 campaign, visit and follow @Durham2025 on Facebook, @Durham_2025 on Twitter and @Durham2025_ on Instagram.

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