Australia Becomes Stage for Historic Jugalbandi

India and Australia are ready to explore a cultural duet. ‘Confluence, A Festival of India in Australia’ beginning this month, will see Indian and Australian artists deepening cultural collaborations. The Festival was launched on 1 August. In a remarkable gesture of strengthening ties with India, Australia had announced a grant of 250,000 Australian dollars to support the 10-week-long festival last month.

A statement from Minister of Communications and Arts Mitch Fifield said “This cultural celebration will extend and deepen the longstanding relationship between Australia and India by giving Australian audiences the opportunity to experience a programme including exhibitions, theatre, dance and music.” The statement said, “The Festival of India in Australia initiative was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 and is a key deliverable of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Arts and Culture between the two sides.”

It will not only boost the response to Indian performing arts across venues in Australia, but also throw open the space for artists from both countries to create, practise and propagate the arts together.

An official note on the Festival from High Commissioner of India in Australia Navdeep Suri says, “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.” According to the note, the Festival will showcase the “virtuosity of Nrityagram and Kalakshetra, puppets by contemporary puppeteer Dadi Pudumjee in Transposition, the staging of a “rib-tickling take” on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night; performance by Raghu Dixit’s , Sonam Kalra’s Sufi Gospel Project, Bollywood flash mobs, and dance workshops “at some of Australia’s most iconic locations”.  A conference ‘Yoga: Science of Infinite Possibilities’ will juxtapose ancient Indian wisdom with the latest medical research.

Featured image: Photo by Anand Prakash Gupta/Getty Images