Year of India at Queens College; Holiday Party at Asia Society; Intern at Pratham
Posts Tagged ‘Asia Society’
“Delhi was once a paradise,
Where love held sway and reigned;
But its charm lies ravished now
And only ruins remain.”
So wrote Bahadur Shah Zafar, poet and art patron, the last of the great Mughal emperors, as the mighty empire of his forefathers dissolved and the new rajahs arrived in town, the East India Company traders who were fast evolving into the new Colonial masters.
Those times are long gone, and Delhi, the spunky never-say-die city which re-invents itself after each invasion, is thriving once again.
It’s that time of the year again when the annual Sikh International Film Festival takes place – and this year one of the guests is film-maker Gurinder Chadha who is a panelist at the inaugural Leadership Summit and is being honored with an Arts award. at the Sikh Heritage Gala on October 15 at Cipriani.
Lassi with Lavina caught up with the hugely popular director in London to get a heads-up on the Sikh International Film Festival which starts tomorrow. Here’s Gurinder Chadha on her award, the Sikh International Film Festival, the changing face of Southall and – ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ – the Musical.
Imagine a room full of women, prostitutes, lowest of the low. They are faceless – without an identity, without a future. They are created out of found objects, the flotsam and jetsam of society.
Their heads are fashioned out of jars, their breasts are jars shaped like voluptuous melons– after all, aren’t women objects? They lack hands, and some even their lower limbs, they have no standing in society. Clad in flashy underwear and gold heels, they are what they wear, sexual objects in an uncaring society.
And yet to stand in that small room with these life-sized, lifeless women was to feel their presence and their pain. It seemed almost a community. Iranian artist Shirin Fakim’s women were just one vignette of the recent Asian Contemporary Art Week (ACAW)
Lord Shiva danced the world into existence with a shake of his mighty damru, it is said, and we’ve been dancing ever since.You had to be at ‘Erasing Borders: Festival of Indian Dance’, a three day festival of dance in NYC to see how boldly the ghungroo bells ring and how feet and hands and bodies meld into a thing of beauty. What was eye-opening was the sheer diversity of the dance vocabulary and how it’s being interpreted by a whole new generation of dancers.
WATCH THE VIDEO
Like hundreds of fans, I’m headed out for the AR Rahman show tonight. Will have a report for you tomorrow. Meanwhile some Rahmanisms to keep you going!
I recalled a very different, calmer afternoon with Rahman several years ago when I was doing an interview with him for Beliefnet, the spirituality website. It was a one-on-one with the maestro in his hotel room and his staff had placed an Indian lunch for us on the table. Learning that I was fasting on that day, Rahman himself disappeared and returned with a glass of orange juice which he silently placed before me. Such is his empathy for other people.
That’s probably the word one is searching for when asked about the new face of Pakistani art which is now being shown in art centers internationally. For a country in so much pain politically and socially – not to mention economically – Pakistan is surprisingly on top of things where art is concerned.
“The steel structure of Spine is transformed through the stitching of red suede, and was inspired by the two-piece choli that is worn at weddings in the Subcontinent. Spine led me to rethink the function of the choli and the inherent contradictions it carries; it is, at the same time, flirtatious and oppressive.”
- Naiza Khan
While Indian contemporary art has been on the international stage for a while now, the next big thing may well be Pakistani artists. These artists have been working steadfastly in their home country through war, terror attacks and the slow disintegration of civil society, and finally the international art world is becoming aware of their work.
Media may tend to dwell on the bad news, on the unraveling of Pakistani society, but the art tends to give a more nuanced picture of Pakistan’s rich culture and history, its complex and diverse people.
If there’s one panacea for broken spirits and hearts, it is cinema. Cinema, when done well, can heal wounds, probe motivations and even foster debate. It’s hard to believe that 25 years have passed since the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, for the hurts still linger. Over the past few years the Sikh community has worked to get the word out, and in a post 9/11 world, it’s become increasingly important to talk of the Sikh culture and identity.