Skies adorned with multi-colored kites, concrete roads ruled by vibrant trucks, and people pigmented with every color under the sun. This is the joyfully colorful culture of Southeast Asia, where history is celebrated, seasons are welcomed, and social change is encouraged with every stroke of the paintbrush.
Holi, or the ‘Festival of Colors’, is one of the most flamboyant festivals in South Asia. Spring is welcomed at the end of a dreary winter by a blatant display of color, a perfectly fitting prelude to the ‘Jashn-e-Bahara’, the Festival of Flowers or Spring, which is celebrated mid-Spring when all the bright flowers are in full bloom. These colorful festivals are ingrained in the culture of South Asia, where colors are so proudly displayed as a means of celebrating something as seemingly simple as a change of seasons. These festivals serve as a means for friendships to form and relationships to be reconciled, driving the society forward in the social aspect as well.
Truck Art is also a bold and beautiful expression of culture in South Asia, allowing artists to explicitly express their emotions, folklore, music, literature, and personal ambitions on their bulky canvases. It is also used as a mode of advertisement and awareness and has highlighted many prominent truck artists, such as Haji Habib Ur Rehman. This popular aspect of South-East Asian culture is also an unapologetic and boldly colorful means of expression, displaying the artist’s experiences and ideologies through flamboyant images and calligraphy for all to witness and ponder over. Draped behind the color and striking imagery and writing, lies an entire plethora of feelings, history, and culture. This allows people to healthily express themselves in an explicit manner, and also makes advertisement look attractive as compared to billboards and digital advertisement.
Basant is happiness to all those who experienced it. Celebrating Spring up in the air, Basant is South Asia’s most beloved cultural festival, as majestic kites accessorize the sky and children chase kite-tails covered with bows and ribbons of all the colors of the rainbow. Aside from being a means of socializing and healthy competition, Basant also offers employment to kite-makers, a very niche and specific form of artistry. South-East Asian culture deeply values color and all that it has to offer.