Saturday, June 22, 2024

The Silk Road comes to Purfleet


PURFLEET based world renowned arts organisation Kinetika launches Silk River in the UK by inviting West Bengal Patachitra artists to work with communities along The Thames Estuary.

2017 sees a year-long programme to mark the 70th anniversary of Indian independence and the cultural relationship with the UK with an exciting festival of events celebrating the vibrant cultural history of the two countries.
Top UK business and Arts institutions will partner with their Indian counterparts to strengthen cultural and economic ties between the two nations, and showcase British and Indian creativity on the global stage.

Internationally renowned arts organisation Kinetika have launched Silk River, an ambitious project which explores the unique relationship between London and Kolkata through artistic exchange between communities along the Thames Estuary and India’s Hooghly River.

Kinetika’s Artistic director Ali Pretty, working in collaboration with associate artistic director Ruchira Das (Think Arts, India) and an international team of artists, writers and photographers, will capture and interpret the experience of journeying along these two mighty rivers.

Working in 20 locations from Murshidabad to Batanagar (Hooghly) and Kew Gardens to Southend (Thames) to reinterpret a shared heritage, Kinetika’s Silk River will raise cultural awareness of the Indo-British relationship through engaging diaspora communities and connecting young people with artists along the route.
Silk River culminates in Sept-Dec 2017 with two river walks where the stories of the 20 locations will be revealed to local, national and international audiences through the reveal of 20 hand-painted Bengali silk scrolls and accompanying performances.

Kinetika has invited leading Patachitra artists, Swarna and Mona Chitraker to the UK in from 6 to 10 February. Following a month long silk painting residency throughout January in West Bengal, India, a week of workshops will kick off the project in the UK, collaborating with the Government of West Bengal and UNESCO Rural Craft & Cultural Hubs (RCCH).

Ali Pretty, Ruchira Das, Swarna and Mona Chitraker will lead workshops in 10 Thames Estuary communities including Purfleet, Kew Gardens, Poplar, Greenwich, Barking, Dagenham, Gravesend, Dartford and Southend from 6th February.
Patachitra is a unique folk tradition of visual storytelling accompanied by songs performed the Patuas. The painters themselves are called Patua and bear the surname – Chitrakar. The paintings are mostly based on stories on mythology, social, historical or contemporary issues. The Patuas compose songs on the stories then paint to corroborate with the story which they unfurl and sing. This makes the Patuas lyricists, painters, singers, all blended into one.

The collaborative workshops will inspire the UK partners in their design of ten silk scrolls that will illustrate specific stories connecting the 20 chosen riperian communites that lie along the banks of The Thames and The Hooghly.


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