DIYA

Judith MacDougall
Australia 2001 | 55 Min. | DV Cam, OmeU
Q&A with: Judith MacDougall

This film attempts to pro­vide a new way of explor­ing the com­plex social life sur­round­ing mate­r­i­al objects. DIYA fol­lows the life his­to­ry an object through the every­day expe­ri­ences of the people who make it, sell it, and use it. A »diya« is a small terra cotta oil lamp used through­out India in reli­gious cer­e­monies. The film begins with a family of pot­ters as they make »diyas« in the increas­ing­ly fran­tic days before Diwali, the »Fes­ti­val of Lights«. The lamps are pro­duced on a potter’s wheel, are taken to be sold in the bazaar, and are then used in the Diwali »puja« cer­e­monies. After­wards, they are dis­card­ed and returned to the earth. In a post­script, the film returns to the potter family with the unex­pect­ed news that their chil­dren will remain in school, ending seven gen­er­a­tions of their family’s life as pot­ters.