ArtsEkta, Northern Ireland first and only Multi-Ethnic arts organisation, last week unveiled a wood carving of Saraswati Mata, Hindu Goddess of Arts and Knowledge. This is one of the first non-Christian religious artworks in a public place in Northern Ireland and is situated in the Palm House in Botanic Gardens Belfast.
The woodcarving was placed in Belfast'sBotanical gardens in memory of Vyishnu Somasundram, a young and dedicated volunteer who worked hard for the community in Northern Ireland. He passed away sadly in September 2007 at the young age of 15. Nisha Tandon, ArtsEkta'sdevelopment manager, said, ?Vyishnu was a great asset to Northern Ireland'sarts community, a very talented artist and dedicated volunteer. He will be missed for ever.? Commenting on the carving, she said, ?This is a very appropriate memorial. Vyishnu himself had supported the idea of having this created a month before his death. He was a Hindu and great artist, the theme of Saraswati is ideal.?
The Somasundram family came to Northern Ireland seeking asylum from Sri Lanka. Shortly after Vyishnu'stragic death, asylum was granted.
(The writer is Northern Ireland Representative of Hindu Council UK and can be contacted at www.hinducounciluk.org)