It gives me great pleasure to invite you all to CONFLUENCE, A Festival of India in Australia from August to November 2016. The Festival was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his historic visit to Australia in November 2014. Working closely with India’s Ministry of Culture and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and in association with the Australia’s Department of Communications and the Arts, we have chosen some of the finest elements from the rich tapestry of Indian culture and civilization for our friends in Australia.
Over a twelve week period, lovers of culture and entertainment in Adelaide, Alice Springs Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney will have the opportunity to savour an extraordinary range of performances. They will see the virtuosity of Nrityagram and Kalakshetra deemed as among the best dance companies in the world present the classical Odissi and Bharatanatyam dance forms; they will be mesmerized by the life sized puppets by contemporary puppeteer Dadi Pudumjee in Transposition; they will sway to Raghu Dixit’s unique mix of world music; they will soak in the spell-binding words and music of Sonam Kalra’s Sufi Gospel Project; and they will join Bollywood flash mobs and dance workshops at some of Australia’s most iconic locations; and they will want more. And so we will offer a rib-tickling Indian take on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, seasoned with an exhibition of political cartoons by India Today’s Ajit Ninan. He will converse with David Pope, Mark Knight and other Aussie counterparts about the unusual hazards of political humour even as our more serious friends engage with renowned architect Bijoy Jain who will set up the MPavilion in Melbourne. Or reflect on Vibhor Soghani’s installation ‘Mahatma in Me’ ; or indeed attend the conference Yoga: Science of Infinite Possibilities which will juxtapose ancient Indian wisdom with the latest medical research.
But can we have a conversation between India and Australia without even a passing reference to bat and ball? I think not! Cricket Connections is a multimedia narration of that unique thread that binds us like no other.
From the Opera House in Sydney to Federation Square in Melbourne, from QPAC in Brisbane to the Festival Centre in Adelaide, from the Old Parliament in Canberra to the Concert Hall in Perth, the Festival of India will enthrall audiences, foster collaborations between our artists and create cultural bonds like never before.
It will also provide a boost to tourism and to the art precincts in these cities. The ambition and scale of the Festival reflects the importance that India and Australia attach to a dynamic and vibrant relationship. The generous financial and other support from the Government of India, from Australia’s Department of Communications and Art and from some of the leading Indian and Australian corporates also reflects the shared interest in transforming this relationship, in taking it to the next level.
I look forward to seeing you at the Festival.
With best wishes
High Commissioner of India in Australia
THE BOLLYWOOD WORKSHOP
Workshop & Masterclass
When – 5–7pm Saturday 17 September
Trained in France in Folk, Modern Jazz, Ballet and Contemporary dance styles, Gilles Chuyen has been working in India since 1994 with various dance forms such as Chhau Mayurbhanj, Kathak and Bharatnatyam. He has been teaching Bollywood dance style extensively in India, the U.K and South Africa.
Imagine, Gilles Chuyen at the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House with 5000 people indulging in a Bollywood Flash Mob!
THE RAGHU DIXIT PROJECT
When – Saturday 17 September 2016 at 8:30pm
Often hailed as India’s biggest cultural & musical export, Raghu Dixit’s unique brand of infectious, happy music transcends age, genre, and even language. His music is strongly rooted in Indian traditions and culture and is presented with a very contemporary, global sound. From playing to over 100,000 people in his home state to every big music festival in India, from Glastonbury to the BBC to even playing for the Queen of England and the entire Royal Family, Raghu Dixit seems to have done quite a bit!
The Raghu Dixit Project is one of India’s foremost bands in its genre. Earthy, rooted, colourful, vibrant, simple yet highly enjoyable are some of the words that describe the music of The Raghu Dixit Project. Often hailed as India’s biggest cultural & musical export his music is strongly rooted in Indian traditions and culture and is presented with a very contemporary, global sound.
EXHIBITION BY CARTOONIST AJIT NINAN
Ajit Ninan, a well-known Indian political cartoonist, excels in both visual and verbal content in his cartoons.
He is best known for drawing the Centre stage series of cartoons in India Today magazine and Ninan’s World in the Times of India.
He will host a cartoon exhibition including workshops with renowned Australian cartoonists such as David Pope in Canberra and Mark Knight in Melbourne.
Ajit Ninan has worked in India Today, Indian Express, Outlook and is now with The Times of India since 2002.
SONAM KALRA AND THE SUFI GOSPEL PROJECT
When – Friday 23 September at 7:00pm
Venue: James O Fairfax Theatre, NGA
Traditional western gospel melds with Indian classical sounds, and Indian spiritual texts are enriched by western poetry to create a sound that touches every soul.
Price : $25, $15 NGA members/concession/students, children under 16 free
Multiple award winning singer and composer Sonam Kalra is that rare breed of musician who has been trained in both Indian and Western traditions of music and is equally adept at both.
Sonam’s unique brainchild, ‘The Sufi Gospel Project’ which blends the many voices of faith, through poetry, prayer and music to create one universal voice of faith, has earned her international critical acclaim.
Sonam has been recognised and appreciated for her all inclusive definition of Sufism and her message of Peace and Oneness has made her a popular voice at prestigious festivals and venues around the world including London, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Pakistan, Oman, Kuwait, Lebanon, Algeria, Dubai, Tunisia, Mauritius, Egypt, South Africa and The United States of America.
SRIYAH (Nrityagram Dance Ensemble)
When – Sunday 25 September 2016
Ancient dance in a modern era – exquisite Indian dance from the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble, whose vibrant costumes and lively yet fluid movements depict an ornately carved Hindu temple springing into life and colour.
The Nrityagram Dance Ensemble is regarded as one of the foremost dance companies of India. The Ensemble has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, from New York to Hawaii in the US and in Denmark, Holland, Portugal, the Middle-East, Singapore and Japan.
At Nrityagram, India dance is a way of life. The founder, Protima Gauri – an exquisite Odissi dancer herself – converted ten acres of farmland into an ideal setting for the study, practice and teaching of classical dance. Although steeped in and dedicated to ancient practice, Nrityagram dancers are also involved in carrying Indian dance into the twenty-first century. Their dazzling performances are lauded both nationally and internationally.
ODISSI is characterized by sensuousness and lyricism. With movements that reflect the motifs of Orissa temple sculpture, it captures drum rhythms, melodies, as well as the poetic meaning of songs taken from the vast canon of Oriya music. It speaks of love and union between human and divine, transporting viewers to enchanted worlds of magic and spirituality.
2 & 3 Oct
When – Sunday 2 & Monday 3 October
Venue – Floriade, Commonwealth Park
The Pung Cholom is a unique classical dance of Manipur.In this style, the dancers play the pung (a form of hand beaten drum) while they dance at the same time. They use acrobatic movements without breaking the rhythm or flow of music.
The dance is marked by a gentle rhythm, which gradually builds up to a thunderous climax. Pung cholom borrows elements from the Manipuri martial arts Thang Ta and Sarit Sarak.
Where: Floriade Night Fest
The Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust – Dance & Puppet Theatre
When – Wednesday 12 October 2016
Venue – The Playhouse
The Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust founded in 1986 by Dadi Pudumjee is one of India’s leading contemporary puppet theatres, committed to creating awareness, exposure and education to the multifaceted traditions and techniques of puppetry in India and the world.
The Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust is known as one of India’s innovative modern puppet groups. The group has evolved through the years with Puppeteers, traditional artists, actors and dancers, creating a language of gesture – Ishara. The group has performed in many countries and organizes the only annual International puppet festival in India in collaboration with Teamwork.
Ishara’s puppet and dance version is based on Rashna Imhasly’s book “The Psychology of Love – Wisdom of Indian Mythology” where she has used both the versions from the Vetalapanchcavinasati and Thomas Mann’s “Transposed heads” continuation, as representative stories depicting the illusions of love. It deals with the duality of each person, between illusion and reality with stylized puppet archetypes and dancers, to a score composed and compiled by Sawan Dutta.
It’s a non-verbal -no text performance- to music with some narration in-between -poems and sayings from various poets including Rumi, Thomas Mann and others. “Transposition” features three large puppets and dancers with projections and a dramatic recorded music score with chants.
The Kalakshetra Foundation – Dance
When – Tuesday 8 November 2016
Kalakshetra in Chennai was founded by Rukmini Devi Arundale in 1936 and has since become a premier institution primarily dedicated to dance and music.
The repertoire of the company includes mythology based dance-dramas, classical and contemporary Bharatanatyam compositions, as well as programs of the varied folk dances of India. In particular, Kalakshetra’s dance-dramas have come to be recognized worldwide for their impeccable technique and aesthetic.
The Kalakshetra Foundation will be performing an expressive dance piece Jataya Moksham from the Ramayana choreographed by Rukmini Devi Arundale herself.
‘The undisputed face of classical arts’ – The Hindu