Tag Archives: Arts

Authors from Bloody Scotland at the 2017 Kolkata Lit Festival

Bloody Scotland is an annual Crime Writers festival held in Stirling, Scotland, and sees participation from some well-known crime fiction authors from Scotland and India. Earlier in February, three Scottish authors participated in a series of sessions with Indian crime fiction authors to explore themes around crime writing:

Lin Anderson shares her experience of participating in the Kolkata Literature festival in this Blog post here  

My favourite memory was of a boy of about ten who had chosen his book from a selection of classics. Clutching it to his chest like a prize possession he was approaching the pay desk with a broad smile on his face.

Lin Anderson

Lin Anderson

Lin Anderson is best known as the author of a series of crime thriller novels and for her part in founding the annual ‘Bloody Scotland’ crime writing festival. Lin’s novel Paths of the Dead was shortlisted for the 2015 Scottish Crime Book of the Year award. Her novels have been published in translation in a number of countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden and Russia. Lin is also an award-winning scriptwriter, with her work broadcast internationally on radio and TV.

 

 

 

Doug Johnstone also writes about his time in Kolkata, dodging the traffic, meeting authors from India and gorging on masala omelettes in his blog here

Turns out we had a lot in common with our Kolkatan counterparts, and we learnt a lot about the crime scene there, as well as spreading the word about our own writing. Ideally, we ‘d love to have some Indian writers come over to Scotland in the future, and I hope we can make that happen.

Doug Johnstone. Picture: Chris Scott

Doug Johnstone. Picture: Chris Scott

Doug Johnstone is a writer, musician and journalist based in Edinburgh, Scotland. His eighth novel, Crash Land, was published by Faber & Faber in November 2016. His previous book, The Jump, was shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Best Scottish Crime Novel. Doug has had short stories appear in various publications and anthologies.

 

 

 

 

Find out more about the Bloody Scotland Festival 

 

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Sir Ian McKellen casts magic spell on Mumbai: launches Shakespeare on Film collection

Ian Mckellen addresses school children at the BD Somani school, Mumbai

Ian Mckellen addresses children at BD Somani school, Mumbai

The actor was in Mumbai between 23- 26 May, as a guest of the British Council and the British Film Institute, to launch the Shakespeare on Film Collection at the NCPA in Mumbai

Calm and collected. Sir Ian McKellen’s on-screen persona matches his real-life self. ‘Gandalf’ aka McKellen kicked-off his Shakespeare tour of India in the balmy weather of Mumbai, with an hour-long Twitter chat with fans from across the globe, on 22 May.

Having arrived the night before on a long-haul flight from London, McKellen was gracious enough to entertain questions from fans across the globe who enquired about his eating preferences to his favourite Shakespeare roles on-screen. Check out updates from the tweet chat here.

Having discovered Shakespeare “at the age of 9″, McKellen is known for his acting on stage in plays such as Macbeth, Henry IV; King Lear and Richard III. The next day, 23 May, he spent an entertaining evening, in-conversation with actor Aamir Khan at the NCPA, Mumbai.

With a full house, the nearly 1,000 audience members listened intently as both veterans discussed Shakespeare and acting influences.

It’s no surprise that McKellen is a master of the stage and that fact was exemplified when he delivered an impromptu performance of the Elizabethan play, Sir Thomas More, to a chorus of applause.

Ian McKellen with Robin Baker at the NCPA Mumbai talking about 'Richard III'

Ian McKellen with Robin Baker at the NCPA Mumbai talking about ‘Richard III’

The next day, McKellen screened his BFI classic RichardIII to a small gathering of Shakespeare fans from Mumbai.

The 108-minute screening was followed by a lively discussion on the influences behind the movie, between him and Robin Baker of the BFI!

 

 

Not just Shakespeare, McKellen is known for being a global LGBT rights celebrity having been vocal about his opinions from an early stage.

Ian at Kashish Opening Ceremony

Ian at Kashish Opening Ceremony

He was also the guest of honour at the Kashish MIQF festival on 25 May, where he also celebrated his 77th birthday with a cake-cutting ceremony. On the final day of his visit, Ian had a school engagement where he addressed children from the BD Somani school, who also staged a version of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. 

 

 

 

 

Further Reading: 

Alan Gemmell talks about Ian McKellen visit, Shakespeare and the Digital Open Call  

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Building bridges through dance

Vanessa Mirza, Director, Dance Bridges Festival, Kolkata, India 2015, writes about her experience of organising a multi-dimensional dance festival in Kolkata. The British Council was one of many partners of the festival, which concluded recently. 

The Dance Bridges Festival. Photo by Tanaya Bhattacharya

The Dance Bridges Festival. Photo by Tanaya Bhattacharya

The Dance Bridges Festival is a new initiative for dance and the performing arts in Kolkata by Dance Alliance Kolkata. The theme: “Talking Points in Choreography; Dialogues Across Cultures” emerged from a personal curiosity as a choreographer to know more about the creative process of different artists and how cultural influences affect choreographic works.

In curating performances for the Festival, I selected works that highlight this individuality and specificity, sometimes in subtle ways in others more overtly. Artists for the Festival included Van Huynh Company (UK), Anarchy Dance Theatre (Taiwan), I-Fen Tung (Taiwan), Sydney Skov (USA), Janet Reed (USA),Tomas Danielis (Austria), Rocio Berenguer (France), Prasanna Saikia & Buoyant Performing Arts (India). There were also special presentations and workshops by Waileth & Bardon (Sweden) & Meghna Bhardwaj (New Delhi).

Every artist and piece carried a different flavour that is a result of a personal history of dance training, choreographic style, creative decisions but also a reflection of cultural perceptions, thinking and infiltrations. It has been a great pleasure to network with different artists and provide for their needs creating an international experience for performing arts right here in Kolkata.

Artists in residency with members from Van Huynh Company

Artists in residency with members from Van Huynh Company. Photo by Tanaya Bhattacharya

A very special part of the Dance Bridges Festival, was a three-week residency with artists from the Van Huynh Company in Kolkata with local dancers. Choreographer, Dam Van Huynh created a beautiful work titled “Resonance” with a company of five local artists and dancer Ieva Navickaite for the Festival. The 20-minute piece has original music accompaniment by Martyna Poznanska created from environmental sounds she recorded live in Kolkata.

Along with performances, the Festival included a section of film screenings with 20 dance films from over 14 countries. The dance films were curated in collaboration with Screendance Festival Sweden, Goethe Institut Kolkata, Gati Dance Forum and other independent artists. This was a truly unique part of the Festival and brought audiences insights into choreographic developments in dance as an art in the medium of film from across the world. During the Festival there were also several workshops in eastern and western styles of dance at different studios in the city providing another platform for sharing knowledge, connection and exchange.

Artists in residency with members from Van Huynh Company Tanaya Bhattacharya

Artists in residency with members from Van Huynh Company. Photo by Tanaya Bhattacharya

As the artistic director and producer for the Festival, it has been a long process of connecting with sponsors and partners. The Festival was possible due to the support and collaboration of Swar Sangam, ITC Ltd.,Goethe-Institut Max Mueller Bhavan, the Austrian Embassy & Austrian Cultural Forum New Delhi, The Swedish Arts Grants Committee (Konstnärsnämnden), Alliance Francaise du Bengale, British Council, Screendance Festival( Sweden), t2 Telegraph, 91.9 Friends FM, Soni Power, Add Life Caring Minds, Rhythmosaic Dance Company, Buoyant Performing Arts Centre, Sparsh Studio for Performing Arts, The Calcutta School of Music aHotel Nest International, Chaitown Creatives and Berger Paints.

It is my intention to host this Festival as a biennial event and the next edition is due to take place in 2017. I hope the Dance Bridges Festival grows from this first edition to continue in building artistic bridges and cultural exchanges within creative communities across the world.

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Inclusion key to museum success

Indian Museum Kolkata

The Indian Museum Kolkata is celebrating 200 years

Who is the museum for? Is it for scholars or students, for historians or curators, for out-station visitors or those living in the city? And casting the net a little wider who should run a museum? Is it the domain of a historian, a curator, an educator, a marketer or a designer?

Just some of many questions around people and inclusion that kept arising at the two-day conference on Strategic Transformations: Museums in 21st Century held in Kolkata. The conference coincided with the bicentennary celebrations of the Indian Museum in Kolkata.  Representatives of UK museums who took part in the discussions shared their perspectives on people and their role in museums, and museums and their connection with people.

For museums to transform it was essential for them to involve a range of professionals and not just curators, said Mark Taylor, Museums Association Director. “It is individuals from a range of professions, from accountants to PR to education, retail and marketing. And even the curators have to adapt, have to develop a greater range of competencies over and above simply academic knowledge of the collections.” His talk on Transforming people to transform museums can be downloaded here.

To attract a range of people to museums it was important for them to connect with people, highlight and discuss issues that were relevant to them. “Museums can highlight contemporary issues and trace their history. At the V&A we have even developed a rapid response collection, which allows us to raise debates on contemporary issues,” said Martin Roth, at a panel discussion. The strategy is to collect objects as soon as they become newsworthy, to reflect the way global events influence society.

Technology was also responsible for transforming museums, making them more accessible to people, even those outside their walls. Carolyn Royston, digital head of the Imperial War Museums spoke at length about attracting audiences online. “Many visit us online and then come into our museums. We’ve seen a massive change in online activity in the last five years, and we are now open 24×7 through our online presence. People interact with us commenting on our online collections, contributing comments.”

A museum is no longer a collection of artefacts and objects lined up for display. Collections now have to be curated to speak to people, be relevant to contexts local and global, and allow people to form a close connection with what they experience. And museums in the 21st century seem to be gearing up to that challenge — to be of the people, by the people and for the people.

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Scottish Dance Theatre

A group of warm, friendly and down to earth people who get up on stage and with intense physicality and fluid grace perform to a crowd of more than 1000. Just another dance show, you may think. But thats where you are wrong. With every consequent move they transport us to another world where we connect with the very real and human emotions that they portray. Performance is not just their strong point. With a heavy outreach programme, traveling around the city in pouring rain and maddening traffic, Scottish Dance Theatre managed to wiggle their way into this city’s heart with their commitment to teaching and sharing their love and passion for dance and movement.

Arts is supposed connect people and encourage knowledge sharing and Scottish Dance Theatre does exactly that. If the rest of the tour follows the pattern of Chennai, then it wont be just a city that loves them but an entire country.

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Gnosis by Akram Khan

A dark stage, complete quiet, and the music begins from somewhere deep within our hearts. The soulful music is slowly accompanied by the sound of feet adorned with the traditional kathak anklets.

Joyful unrestrained dancing was completed by joyful unrestrained music played live. This was a performance where each artiste knew their part, lived their part and played it to perfection. Getting the audience to feel every nuance, every flick of the hand, every turn of the head, every smooth spin. Our bodies were doing the dance, our hands were playing the cello, our hearts were beating in time with the percussion and our voices were singing the songs.

Akram Khan’s Gnosis was a landmark show and what better way to begin Impulse. Gnosis is performed for the last time today in Delhi and people are clamouring for seats. 

Every move, every expression and every bit of the music and dancing is branded onto my brain and has left all of us who watched the show speechless. Akram Khan has recieved a standing ovation in every city and rightfully so.

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Art Connections 2011

The stunning exhibition by Anish Kapoor that opened in New Delhi and Mumbai just a few weeks ago started a new chapter in the relationship between the UK and India in visual arts, underpinned by the new Cultural Agreement between our two countries that was signed in July.
During January, inspired by the amazing gathering that is the India Art Summit, the British Council is working with a huge range of partners to cement that relationship and bringing artists, curators, visual arts producers and policy-makers together, to exchange perspectives and ideas about where this cultural partnership should go next.
read more

Rob Lynes
Director, British Council, India

EVENTS

read in detail

18 January

Dialogues on Curating Part II
at India International Centre
Seminar
10.30 a.m. – 5.30 p.m.
IIC Annexe Lecture Hall (by registration)

Journeys: Four Generations of Indian Artists in Their Own Words
at British Council
Book Launch & Panel Discussion
6.30 – 9.00 p.m.
Theatre (by invitation only)

The Edinburgh Festival in India
at British Council
Presentations & Lunch
11 am – 12.30 p.m.
Theatre (by registration)

19 January

Dialogues on Curating Part II
at India International Centre
Seminar
10.30 a.m. – 5.30 p.m.
IIC Annexe Lecture Hall (by registration)

One Sky Project
at British Council
Reception
6.30 – 8.30 p.m.
Charbagh (by invitation)
Joint reception for The Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, UK and the delegates of the One Sky Project
Exhibition
19 – 29 January, 10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.
Queen’s Gallery (open to all)

20 January

The ŠKODA Prize for Indian Contemporary Art
at Goethe-Institut
Exhibition Preview
11.00 a.m. – 2.00 p.m.
Siddhartha Hall, Max Muller Bhavan (by invitation only)

The exhibition is open to all from 21 – 23 January.

INDIA ART SUMMIT
VIP Preview
3.00 p.m. – 5.00 p.m.
Pragati Maidan (IAS VIP pass holders)

21 January

Breakfast reception
at National Gallery of Modern Art
9.30 a.m. – 11.00 a.m.
(IAS VIP pass holders)

Otolith Exhibition
at Seven Art Ltd Gallery
Preview
9.00 a.m. – 11.00 a.m.
(IAS VIP pass holders)

Indian art on the international art circuit
at India Art Summit
Panel discussion
3.00 p.m. – 4.30 p.m.
Pragati Maidan (by registration)

Speakers amongst others include
Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-director of Exhibitions and Programmes & Director of International
Projects, Serpentine Gallery
Nina Miall, Director, Haunch of Venison

The ŠKODA Prize for Indian Contemporary Art
at Taj Palace Hotel (by invitation only)
7.30 p.m.
Winner announcement

22 January

Anish Kapoor in conversation with Homi Bhabha
at India Art Summit
12.00 noon – 1.30 p.m.
Pragati Maidan (by registration)

Anish Kapoor, Artist
Homi Bhabha, Professor and Director, Humanities Centre, Harvard University

The Khoj Marathon by Hans Ulrich Obrist
at Lodi Garden Restaurant
A series of Public conversations
1.45 p.m. – 11.00 p.m.
Courtyard (open to all)

23 January

Shifting cultural contexts and the role of the Museum
at India Art Summit
Panel discussion
11 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.
Pragati Maidan (by registration)
Speaker amongst others include
Sheena Wagstaff, Chief Curator, Tate Modern

Exhibition

Anish Kapoor
at National Gallery of Modern Art
28 November 2010 – 27 February 2011
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Thursday until 8 p.m.
Closed on Mondays (open to all)

Journeys
at Pragati Maidan Metro Station
By London Transport Museum

I AM A MONUMENT
at British Council
By Vishal K Dar
17 – 23 January

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