A more complete collection of images shot and selected for consideration in the photo essay "A light in the West."
This story was updated on November 06, 2013 with an extended feature published in the Trinidad Guardian.
The text for the 2006 story is
here. The text for the 2013 update is here, along with a sidebar on bamboo bender David Kanhai.
Interested in the published versions of these stories?
Click here.
Click on any image to view an enlargement. use the arrow keys to navigate back and forth through the gallery. Captions are available in the larger version of the photos.
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MWL_20131101_5111.jpg- Marcia Singh washes onions as the family begins preparations for the two days of work in the kitchen that precedes their annual Divali feast and lighting at Ethel Street
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MWL_20131101_5160.jpg- Ronnie Rampersad, best known to those working on preparing for the festival as ‘Baghdad’and Keshan Anthony prepare vegetables for cooking at the Singh family’s annual Divali event
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MWL_20131101_5161.jpg- Marjorie Singh, matriarch of the family looks on as Ronnie Rampersad and Keshan Anthony prepare vegetables for cooking at the Singh family’s annual Divali event
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MWL_20131101_5221.jpg- Marcia Singh washes spinach, known locally as bhaji, in the family’s kitchen before cooking it as a dish for the family’s annual Divali celebration
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MWL_20131101_5290.jpg- Rishi Boodhoo strings lights from bamboo poles across Ethel Street
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MWL_20131031_5008.jpg- David Kanhai shapes raw bamboo into wireframed designs onto which deyas will be hung for the St James Divali celebration
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MWL_20131031_5071.jpg- David Kanhai shapes raw bamboo into wireframed designs onto which deyas will be hung for the St James Divali celebration
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MWL_20131031_5080.jpg- David Kanhai shapes raw bamboo into wireframed designs onto which deyas will be hung for the St James Divali celebration
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MWL_20131102_5347.jpg- Marcia Singh covers cooked food on Saturday afternoon, just a few hours before the family will begin their annual Divali celebration
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MWL_20131102_5403.jpg- Cheryl Singh stirs vegetables being prepared for currying before it’s served at the family’s Divali night celebrations in St James
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MWL_20131102_5436.jpg- Johnathan Afing cycles past the bamboo frames of the Singh family’s presentation on Ethel Street for Divali 2013
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MWL_20131102_5531.jpg- Cheryl Singh stirs the sweet dough of parsad in preparation for the family’s Divali night celebrations in St James
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MWL_20131102_5623.jpg- Children wash and prepare deyas for drying and filling with oil at the Singh family celebration of Divali on Ethel Street in St James
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MWL_20131102_5636.jpg- Marjorie Singh, centre, directs Nicholas ‘Purple’ Nikki and Rishi Boodhoo in their decorating of a shrine to Mother Laskhmi at the Singh family celebration of Divali on Ethel Street in St James
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MWL_20131102_5646.jpg- Rishi Boodhoo and Nicholas ‘Purple’Nikki decorate a shrine to Mother Laskhmi at the Singh family celebration of Divali on Ethel Street in St James
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MWL_20131102_5675.jpg- A young Singh family member attaches wire supports to the bamboo structures at the family’s Divali celebrations
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MWL_20131102_5702.jpg- Shane Ali, a third generation member of the Singh family gently places an oil-dampened wick into a deya as the family prepares for their 16th celebration of Divali in front of their home in St James
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MWL_20131102_5727.jpg- Dereck Singh places an oil-dampened wick into a deya as the family prepares for their 16th celebration of Divali in front of their home in St James
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MWL_20131102_5765.jpg- Marcia Singh poses alongside an artist’s impression of her father, Bheem. Photographs of her recently deceased brother Gerard and sister Fedora have been added to the painting for this year’s celebration
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MWL_20131102_5783.jpg- Visitors to the Singh family’s Divali celebrations light deyas on Ethel Street
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MWL_20131102_5806.jpg- The Singh family’s shrine to Mother Laskhmi at their Divali celebrations in St James
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MWL_20131102_5895.jpg- Crowds on Ethel Street view the bamboo art at the Singh family’s Divali celebration and light deyas wired to the structures. Photograph by Mark Lyndersay.
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MWL_20131102_5924.jpg- Tassa drummers perform at the Singh family’s celebration. Dereck Singh performs the cymbals with the percussion grou
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MWL_20131102_5951.jpg- Visitors to the Singh family’s Divali celebrations enjoy the curried vegetables and paratha roti that the family serves continuously throughout the night
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MWL_20131102_5959.jpg- Visitors to the Singh family’s Divali celebrations enjoy the curried vegetables and paratha roti that the family serves continuously throughout the night
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MWL_20131102_5971.jpg- The Singh family’s celebration draws crowds from well beyond St James to view the bamboo art and sample the tasty food that the family offers each year for Divali
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01_Singh's_Sun15_01.jpg- Raw bamboo is delivered to the Singh's home.
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01_Singh's_Sun15_03.jpg- Young Shakeel Singh watches Derek and Gerald Singh shape hoops and join them to the assembly.
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01_Singh's_Sun15_12.jpg- Young Shakeel Singh holds a shaft of split bamboo in place while Derek and Gerald Singh shape hoops and join them to the assembly.
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01_Singh's_Sun15_17.jpg- Young Shakeel Singh holds a shaft of split bamboo in place as the event’s showpiece, Derek’s blimp, begins to take shape.
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01_Singh's_Sun15_26.jpg- Sean Singh splits bamboo under the watchful eye of his father Bheem
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01_Singh's_Sun15_19.jpg- Brothers Derek and Gerald Singh shape bamboo hoops for the blimp effigy.
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01_Singh's_Sun15_35.jpg- Bheem Singh great joy was his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, whose presence he encouraged in the Divali preparations.
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01_Singh's_Sun15_37.jpg- Much of the early work involves splitting lengths of bamboo accurately.
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02_Singh's_Mon16_04.jpg- As night falls, Derek Singh’s work is illuminated by overhead lamps and the lights of passing cars.
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03_Singh's_Fri20_04.jpg- Cepep workers work on a cart in a contribution to the project. A local Cepep office is just two blocks away from the Singh home.
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03_Singh's_Fri20_07.jpg- The other great labour of the Divali celebration is the massive cooking that takes place as the Singhs welcome friends, neighbours and strangers to their home. Many volunteers contribute to the preparation of food for this aspect of the celebration.
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03_Singh's_Fri20_10.jpg- "Bodi"
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03_Singh's_Fri20_12.jpg- Cepep workers work on a cart in a contribution to the project. A local Cepep office is just two blocks away from the Singh home.
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03_Singh's_Fri20_13.jpg- The other great labour of the Divali celebration is the massive cooking that takes place as the Singhs welcome friends, neighbours and strangers to their home. Many volunteers contribute to the preparation of food for this aspect of the celebration. Friends and extended family prepare pumpkin.
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03_Singh's_Fri20_17.jpg- Cheryl Boodoo prepares spinach leaves
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03_Singh's_Fri20_20.jpg- Asha Maharaj, Kabrina Rahim and Sarana Singh prepare mounds of bodi.
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03_Singh's_Fri20_23.jpg- Marjorie Singh prepares bodi in the family's kitchen.
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03_Singh's_Fri20_31.jpg- On the night before Divali celebrations, work continues late as the bamboo structures take shape.
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03_Singh's_Fri20_32.jpg- On the night before Divali celebrations, work continues late as the bamboo structures take shape.
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03_Singh's_Fri20_35.jpg- On the night before Divali celebrations, work continues late as the bamboo structures take shape.
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03_Singh's_Thu19_02.jpg- Bheem Singh's presence was a constant throughout the work on the project.
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03_Singh's_Thu19_10.jpg- A cannon takes shape as the work slowly begins to spill into the road in front of the family's house.
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03_Singh's_Thu19_13.jpg- Bheem Singh's presence was a constant throughout the work on the project.
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03_Singh's_Thu19_18.jpg- The driveway leading to the Singh’s home is washed by Sean Singh as it is prepared to become the extended kitchen.
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04_Singh's_Sat21_05.jpg- Matriarch Marjorie and daughter Marcia package traditional sweets.
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04_Singh's_Sat21_07.jpg- On the small pot in the family kitchen, bodi and vegetables simmer.
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04_Singh's_Sat21_14.jpg- In the big pots in the driveway to the family's home more food is prepared. Here Carl Cassie stirs the pot with a wooden ladle.
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04_Singh's_Sat21_22.jpg- Cheryl Boodoo, assisted by Carl Cassie, checks the progress of the channa pot.
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04_Singh's_Sat21_27.jpg- Coconut oil will be bottled off to fill the hundreds of deyas that will be attached to the bamboo structures.
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04_Singh's_Sat21_29.jpg- The deyas are soaked in water before being mounted on the bamboo structures.
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04_Singh's_Sat21_32.jpg- Bheem Singh leads his family in offering prayers to Mother Lakshmi as the evening darkens into Divali night.
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04_Singh's_Sat21_36.jpg- Marjorie Singh offers prayers to Mother Lakshmi as the evening darkens into Divali night.
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04_Singh's_Sat21_43.jpg- Marcia Singh offers prayers to Mother Lakshmi as the evening darkens into Divali night.
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04_Singh's_Sat21_45.jpg- Bheem Singh at centre, with his son Sean at right, leads the lighting of deyas as night falls.
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04_Singh's_Sat21_57.jpg- An altar prepared in honour of Mother Lakshmi.
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04_Singh's_Sat21_59.jpg- Gerald Singh lights deyas at his family's Divali celebrations.
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04_Singh's_Sat21_69.jpg- Visitors, friends and family light deyas at the Singh's Divali celebration.
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04_Singh's_Sat21_71.jpg- Gerald Singh lights deyas at his family's Divali celebrations.
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04_Singh's_Sat21_76.jpg- Visitors, friends and family light deyas at the Singh's Divali celebration.
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04_Singh's_Sat21_80.jpg- Food is served at tables setup along the narrow driveway to the Singh family home.
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04_Singh's_Sat21_91.jpg- Visitors, friends and family light deyas at the Singh's Divali celebration.
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