East Vancouver artist Jessie Sohpaul has added a contemporary twist to the Festival of Lights in a new design for the Vancouver Canucks. Today (November 2), the NHL team unveiled Sophpaul’s Diwali-themed Canucks logo. It appears on a limited-edition jersey, as well as a hoodie, T-shirts, caps, crewneck, toque, and sticker.
Diwali is known as the Festival of Lights—a time when Indians traditionally light diyas outside their homes during the holiday to offer protection from spiritual darkness. The holiday represents the triumph of light over darkness and goodness over evil.
Originally a Hindu celebration, it’s now celebrated by many other religious communities in South Asia, some of which have adapted it to reflect their beliefs.
For instance, Sikhs honour Guru Hargobind at this time. Their sixth Sikh Guru survived his uncle’s attempts to poison him on two occasions, as well as another assassination attempt when a cobra was tossed at him. Moreover, Guru Hargobind was also imprisoned as a teenager and his release from jail is celebrated during Diwali.
For Jains, Diwali is associated with the nirvana of Lord Mahavira.
“Diwali is not just for South Asians,” Sohpaul says. “Its message is universal. Because of this, I wanted the design to be more modern and not lean exclusively into typical Diwali themes.”
Sohpaul is creative director of the Punjabi Market Collective. He has previously painted one of the large murals in the neighbourhood around Main Street and East 49th Avenue. In an interview with Pancouver earlier this year, the artist and graphic designer talked about why he often accents images in black and white with splashes of gold or red.
He spoke about this in connection with his design on a LunarFest lantern, which was at Granville Island.
Sohpaul embeds lots of gold in Diwali design
Meanwhile, one of the Canucks’ new Diwali caps has a predominantly red and gold logo. It features light spots representing stars against a dark sky near the top. And on the team’s blue Diwali jersey, Sohpaul spelled the Canucks name in gold and embedded gold into the shoulder patches.
He’s also incorporated a flame within a paisley section to symbolize the lighting of clay diyas. In addition, Sohpaul has fused a bird common to South Asia, a peacock, with the phoenix to represent renewal.
According to a Canucks tweet, the overall palette of Sohpaul’s design reflects the triumph of light over darkness.
All the details within this year's Diwali logo, designed by artist Jessie Sohpaul.
Join us on November 15 at Rogers Arena for Diwali Night!
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) November 2, 2023
This year, Diwali falls on November 12. According to Indian Express, the “most auspicious time to perform the Diwali puja is after sunset, during the period known as ‘pradosh’.”
On that day, the Canucks are on the road in Calgary. Therefore, the team will wait until the following Wednesday (November 15) to commemorate Diwali when they host the New York Islanders at Rogers Arena. To purchase Sohpaul’s Diwali-designed Canucks merchandise, visit the team’s website.