This article is dedicated to the enthusiasts of Nil Ahase Vasanthaya National Kite Festival, scheduled to get underway on September 12 and 13 at the Galle Face Green.
There are oodles of creative energies that go into the creation of a kite, which is the precursor to the airplane.
Airplanes, however, became too big and fast and nobody thought it fit to color the underside of an airplane with crazy designs, though Richard Branson’s Virgin Air red does not count…
A kite is a little bit of the invasion of the heavens.
It represents a foray into the unknown and the unknowable, and though kite flying has come to signify flamboyant human behaviors, the true nature of these flying objects has been misunderstood.
The standard retort to people, who ask for too much, is the brusque ‘go fly a kite.’ It is intended to be a put down, but is rather misplaced.
Those, who wish that people don’t know how kite flying is a tonic to the soul, and route of escape from the mundane and the commonplace.
The art of kite creation is demanding, and calls for a gamut of creative skills. The most beautiful kite is useless if it cannot fly, and in order to be held aloft by a string, a kite has to be built to hold the ballast and the balance.
Well, people who do the kite-thing, got better and better since the first kites took to the skies more than 2,000 years ago, in China.
Today, kites are used for a different kind of combat experience. Those who read the book Kite Runner would have an idea of how kites are used to trip up other kites, and how there are turf wars enacted up in the heavens.
The conceptualists of the Nil Anase Wasanthaya National Kite Festival are aiming for a creative burst of energy that would take kite creators to a new level of experimentation and fantasy, when the festival gets underway.
Kites change the skies, and therefore are primarily a visual form of art. Kites are a way of ‘throwing art into the sky’, a renowned exponent in kite art is said to have opined…
The trick is that the kite has to look good from below and not at ground level. A beautiful looking kite on the craftsman’s table may look a total disappointment once it is up in the sky, if the color contrasts for instance don’t show up hundreds of feet below, at ground level.
Kite enthusiasts think that there is an amalgam of talent that’s needed for kite creation, and that kite flying hones creative abilities in both the arts and sciences.
If there is a physics of kite flying, there is a language of kite flying too.
Kites compete for attention in the skies, and there are a myriad kite motifs that have been made famous through the years, though as far as innovation is concerned, the sky is the limit.
Some creators make the kites talk via the shape of their flying object, and others do it by arranging the colors and simply making art.
Many kite festivals the world over rely on the visual spectacle to color the skies, but undoubtedly it is not the colors alone that are celebrated, or the shapes, but the culture of being ‘high on kites.’
It is a form of harmless intoxication, and perhaps this is how the term ‘high as a kite’ (pejorative) first originated.
Kites became metaphor for more unkind allusions such as (he is engaged in …) ‘kite flying’, being the expression for acts that are showy without substance, or acts seeking to mislead through showmanship.
But real kite flyers are high on kites, and ‘go fly a kite’ as a term of dismissal, usually has them confused.
Hundreds of such people would gather at the National Kite Festival at the Galle Face Green on September 12 and 13.
The carnival of kites follows in the tradition of known festivals and kite carnivals in France, USA, Dubai and Italy.
‘In Kabul, fighting kites are a little like going to war.’ So goes a line from Khalid Hosseni’s celebrated book, the Kite Runner.
However, the interpreters of the novel say that the kite running episodes symbolize moments of placidity after or before deeply scarring and traumatic events.
The violence in kite fighting is benign, and in the novel, is seen to be symbolic of what Afghanistan is: beautiful though scarred by violence.
There never was a real kite contest without a kite fight and at the Nil Ahase Wasanthaya Festival, there would be awards made to the most combatively creative kite. It’s worth being there to watch real kite running in Colombo!
Here are some useful notes on the festival for the kite aficionado:
In addition to actual kite flying, kite camps, magic shows, face painting, and DJ music would animate this year’s festival.
Robbialac is the main sponsor of this event, with co-sponsors such as Demak, Rainco, Neville Fernando Hospital, Zeon Hybrid, Fly Adds, Nehemiah Consultants, Music.lk, Sirisara Web and Kalabara News.
All kite enthusiasts are invited to be there and enjoy themselves at this grand event.
More details are available at the kitesrilanka.org website and the Kite Sri Lanka Organization Facebook page.
The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org