COB Campaign Photo: What the Heck’s Going on Here?


Do you love our campaign photo for City of Bhangra Festival 2015? So do we!

The image was taken by Victor Penner for the Love Umbrella Project, an art-based initiative originated by Kelly Deck in 2013 as a way to share stories about how love illuminates Vancouver and its communities. 

Deck’s idea was to engage 13 organizations/communities, 13 professional photographers/artists, and 1 writer to art-direct a series of photographs expressing how love illuminates the community’s work. The umbrella component was simple—they would form a common thread between the images, and they’re also VERY Vancouver! (Who ever leaves home without one?)

Starting February 1, 2013, one photo series per day (and the story that went with it) was uploaded to the Umbrella Project blog. The featured communities then shared their images through social media platforms via Facebook and Twitter, spreading daily messages of love and inspiration around the globe. On Valentine’s Day, the Project held an exhibition and the 13 images and 200 umbrellas were sold at silent auction, with all proceeds going to the local charity Leave Out Violence. 

VIBC was one of the organizations featured in The Umbrella Project that year, and we have to say that the photo Victor Penner took of VIBC founder and director Mo Dhaliwal and PANJ dancers is one of our favourites! Both mysterious and mesmerizing, it places bhangra firmly within the urban context, and yet the distant city skyline, lowering clouds, and strangely illuminated dancers, punctuated by the bright red, heart-shaped umbrella held aloft by the lone figure who has turned his back on the camera, lift the image to the level of surrealism.

Complicated? Yes. Maybe even a bit confusing, and probably NOT your typical PR promo photo! Yet we love the image BECAUSE it’s complicated. Like the world around us, disparate elements sometimes come together to create a strange beauty, an unexpected mix of light and energy that can both inspire us and make us think.

Our work at VIBC is driven by our passion for artistic innovation, and for creating strong community bonds and inclusive spaces for all. We see the power of arts and culture to shatter barriers and build meaningful bridges between people. Our work is to engage and to provoke—to reimagine ourselves, our identities, and roles in our community. We think our campaign photo this year perfectly expresses our willingness to go out on a limb… sail uncharted waters… and continue to work toward bringing people together through celebration and the joy of bhangra.

Special thanks to Ajaib Sidhoo for giving us permission to use this photo. 

Blog by Jennifer Webb

Photo by Victor Penner (for Love Umbrella Project, originated by Kelly Deck), used courtesy Ajaib Sidhoo. Pictured: Mo Dhaliwal and PANJ Bhangra.

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