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Jitish Kallat’s Doomsday installation mirrors prophesies of man-made catastrophe

Jitish Kallat
Jitish Kallat
Jitish Kallat’s sculptural installation at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale is an abstract work that combines themes from the prehistoric past and future, while deriving a part of its form from the iconic Doomsday Clock.
 
On view inside a large hall at TKM Warehouse in the heritage town of Mattancherry, a suite of six exhibits has been illuminated from the top, making the entire setting appear ominous. The installation, made out of dental plaster with mild steel supports, is called ‘Untitled (Two Minutes to Midnight)’.
 
The title of the 2018 work is a direct reference to the Doomsday Clock, which was created in 1947 as a symbolic/hypothetical representation of how close humanity is to a man-made catastrophe. Developed by a group of scientists, scholars and Nobel laureates, represented by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the clock was recently set to 11:58 pm — which is two minutes before the symbolic apocalyptic midnight.
 
Situating his work in the context of nuclear weapons and climate change being cited as one of the potential causes for the world’s end, Jitish’s work re-imagines the clock by placing the six sculptures on a plinth that is shaped liked the Doomsday Clock. “The installation draws together ciphers that link past and future, dawn and midnight to induce a contemplation on the many urgencies of our present-day existence,” says the 44-year-old Mumbaikar, with family roots tracing to Kerala. 
 
Even as he looks to the prophesied future in his installation, the form of his exhibits has been informed by a landmark discovery from the prehistoric era, which is the first evidence of tool construction millions of years ago.  
A view of Jitish Kallat's works at TKM Warehouse, Mattancherry in Kochi.
A view of Jitish Kallat's works at TKM Warehouse, Mattancherry in Kochi.
 
Elaborating on the form of his biennale sculptures, Jitish says the suite of sculptures derives its form from paleolithic hand axes and stone tools that were the first human effort to alter the face of the planet. In his work, the artist uses the reference to the first stone tools to make a point about the destruction of the planet. “The first stone tools mark the dawn of human ingenuity, augmenting physical capacities before exponential future innovations lead to uninhibited human supremacy and indiscriminate manipulation of the planet,” he says.   
 
As an artist whose vast oeuvre covers painting, photography, drawing and video apart from sculptural installations, Jitish’s work has largely focused on themes of human existence, time, sustenance, history, nations, cities and the distant cosmos.     
  
After working as a curator and artistic director of the 2014 edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Jitish returned to the fourth edition as a participating artist for the 108-day event that concludes on March 29.
 
The artist studied painting at Sir J. J. School of Art and has widely exhibited at museums and galleries all over the world, including shows at Tate, London, and a number of presentations at biennales and triennials in Asia and the west.   
 
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Film industry comes forward to help actor-turned-watchman

Savi Sidhu working as a security guard now and acting as a police officer in a scene from Anurag Kashyap's Black Friday.
Savi Sidhu working as a security guard now and acting as a police officer in a scene from Anurag Kashyap's Black Friday.
Rather than facing the pain and humiliation of penury, the out-of-work senior actor Savi Sidhu opted to take on the job of a watchman at a high-rise building in the suburbs of Mumbai. After his story went viral this week, Savi is flooded with offers to return to cinema.
 
Sushant Singh, General Secretary of the Cine & TV Artists Association (CINTAA), said: "I spoke to him. He couldn't call me earlier as he was busy with auditions. He was sounding very happy, I congratulated him for choosing to lead a dignified and honest life. 
 
"He might've been down, but he chose not to be down and out."
 
Filmmaker Hansal Mehta feels Savi's story defines the dignity of labour as well as the callousness of the entertainment industry. 
 
"I found his outlook towards life very positive and dignified. We are in an uncertain business and have only ourselves to fall back on eventually -- particularly in low phases. 
 
"I support his dignity above empty words of support and sympathy. He is better off than many who I meet at receptions of producers' offices whining or pleading and doing little about themselves, their lives or their self-respect. I salute his spirit."
 
IANS
 

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Disney now owns Star India after $71bn Fox deal

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With the closing of the $71 billion deal with 21st Century Fox, The Walt Disney Company now owns Indian TV giant Star, a Mumbai-based media company with dozens of sports and entertainment channels.
 
The deal became effective on Wednesday morning.
 
Besides Star India, the acquisition has most of Rupert Murdoch's former empire including 21st Century Fox's film production businesses, including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox 2000 Pictures, Fox Family and Fox Animation; Fox's television creative units, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21; FX Networks; National Geographic Partners; Fox Networks Group International.
 
The deal also makes Disney the owner of Tata Sky and Endemol Shine Group.
 
The acquisition would give a huge boost to the entertainment giant's content as it aims to take on streaming services providers such as Netflix, Hulu and Apple's own TV service that is slated to be unveiled next week.
 
"This is an extraordinary and historic moment for us -- one that will create significant long-term value for our company and our shareholders," Bob Iger, Chairman-CEO, Disney, said in a statement.
 
"Combining Disney's and 21st Century Fox's wealth of creative content and proven talent creates the pre-eminent global entertainment company, well positioned to lead in an incredibly dynamic and transformative era."
 
Despite the acquisition, Murdoch's Fox Corp would retain its independence and entities like Fox News and Fox Sports in the US.
 
IANS
 

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India Pavilion inaugurated at London Book Fair

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The India Pavilion at London Book Fair was inaugurated on Tuesday by Vikram Sahay, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and Sadhana Rout, Director General, Publications Division.
 
The fair is being held in the London Olympia from March 12-14.
 
The India Pavilion lays special focus on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. It displays the digital version of the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, apart from various other titles on culture, history and folklore of India. 
 
An interactive digital media experience on life and times of Mahatma Gandhi, Statue of Unity and other major achievements of India is also available at the Pavilion.
 
A seminar on Making of The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi – Print and Electronic Versions – will also be organized at the London Olympia.
 
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YouTube Music arrives in India

In a bid to grab a pie of the growing Indian audio streaming industry, Google-owned YouTube on Tuesday announced the launch of its new music streaming app YouTube Music in the country.
 
This is the second big debut of a global music streaming giant in India after Swedish platform Spotify made its way into the country late last month.
 
The ad-supported version of YouTube Music is free and to get access to ad-free YouTube Music Premium, you have to pay Rs 99 a month, the company said in a statement.
 
"It's interesting to note how Indian artists have consistently claimed top spots over the last few months in the 'Global YouTube Top Artists' chart. 
 
"With YouTube Music, we are hoping to bring the best in global and Indian music to millions of fans across India, and give them an immersive music experience," said Lyor Cohen, Global Head of Music, YouTube.
 
The company also announced to bring "YouTube Premium" to India which would be available for Rs 129 a month that included membership to YouTube Music Premium, offline downloads and access to all YouTube originals.
 
"Samsung Galaxy S10 users can enjoy four months of free, ad-free access to YouTube Premium," said the company.
 
YouTube Music would throw a big competition to services like Gaana, Saavn, Apple Music and Amazon Music.
 
In the crowded Indian music streaming industry, the newly-launched Spotify has already garnered over one million users.
 
According to a recent report by Deloitte and Indian music-industry body IMI, the audio and video OTT market in India is valued at around $280 million. The evolving audio OTT market provides nearly 150 million monthly active users access to millions of soundtracks across platforms.
 
IANS

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Anubhav Sinha unveils first look of his next – Article 15 – with Ayushmann Khurrana in the lead

Actor  Ayushmann Khurrana in the first look  of Anubhav Sinha's next 'Article 15'.
Actor Ayushmann Khurrana in the first look of Anubhav Sinha's next 'Article 15'.
After ardently presenting a rather delicate and provocative subject with élan in the critically acclaimed Rishi Kapoor-Taapsee Pannu starrer ‘Mulk’, director and producer Anubhav Sinha is gearing up to helm his next - a hard hitting investigative drama, pegged to be one of his most ambitious projects till date.
 
Titled ‘Article 15’, the film will not only be a first of its kind within the film industry with regards to its mammoth plotline, but will also see a fresh industry pairing with Sinha teaming up for the first time with the archetype of sundry cinema, Ayushmann Khurrana who enjoyed a successful run at the box office with critically acclaimed ‘Badhaai Ho’ and ‘Andhadhun’ last year.
 
While Khurrana will essay the role of the principal protagonist, a stellar support cast comprising Isha Talwar, Manoj Pahwa , Sayani Gupta, Kumud Mishra, M Nasser, Ashish Verma, Sushil Pandey, Subrajyoti Bharat, Ronjini Chakraborty and Zeeshan Ayub are all set to make Article 15 one of the most explosive drama films of 2019.
 
Interestingly as seen in the first look, the versatile actor who has embraced a gamut of on-screen characters and redefined box office success with his diverse choice of cinema, from a blind man to a sperm donor, will be seen essaying the role of a police officer for the first time in this film.
 
“It is an investigative drama where the audience too is an accused party. A very challenging film that needed an extraordinary actor like Ayushmann. Delighted to have him on board with an explosive bundle of such talented and acclaimed actors," Sinha  said.
 
"I’m always intrigued by the socio-political situation of our country. We hardly see films which present the situation in an unbiased way. Anubhav Sinha is one such director who understands the complexities of our country. I loved Mulk. It is the most balanced film based on communalism and extremism. And it will be an absolute pleasure to work with him on Article 15," Khurrana said.
 
The film will be produced by Benaras Media Works and has been on the floors since March 1 in Lucknow. True to Sinha’s recent cinematic appetite, the content-driven film will draw inferences from certain true-life events which have been researched upon over the last six months.
 
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High on music, Oorali Flood Express thanks fisherfolk in north Kerala

Six months after massive floods drowned Kerala, a team of artistes is on a journey to some of the places worst affected by that monsoon calamity — to pay homage to the fisherfolk who had plunged into rescue operations.
 
The ‘Oorali Flood Express’ is one of the first travelling artist projects of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. The team, on reaching Malappuram district from Fort Kochi’s main venue of the 108–day festival, staged a cultural evening on the sandy belts of Thanoor on Thursday evening.
 
“It is one of our very special projects. We are going to some of the very remote parts of Kerala where people don’t know quite much about the festival,” says Anita Dube, curator of the ongoing fourth edition of the biennale. “It is a very special encounter.”
 
The ten-member team, which will visit coastal areas in Thrissur and Ernakulam districts in the ongoing second leg that began Wednesday night, features vocalists, instrumentalists and drummers. Earlier last month, Oorali had their first leg of the trip to south Kerala, visiting five shores in the districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Alappuzha. It ended in the last week of January, after which the Express took a ten-day break.
 
Oorali, known for its folk-reggae songs with themes on society and politics, has now resumed singing at the hamlets. The artistes again began interacting with the fisherfolk by staying with them for a while in each of such places in the three-week tour.
 
The itinerary goes thus: Thanoor (Feb 21-22), Ponnani or Parapanagandi (Feb 23-24); in Thrissur district’s Kodungalur (Feb 26-27) and Chavakkad (March 6-7), and finally in Ernakulam district’s Njarakkal (March 8-10).
 
In the first phase of the Flood Express Journey, the band sang along the shores, conducted art workshops for children and organised song speak, says Saji V, guitarist of the 2010-formed Oorali. “That way, we gave a big salute to the fisherfolk army.”
 
The Flood Express is virtually an art journey across coastal Kerala, as an initiative of the KBF in a bid to reach out to local communities.  
 
Oorali’s chief singer Martin John says the band wants more people from each shore to participate and perform with its members.
 
Saji notes that their interactions could change people’s mood. “We thank the KBF team in believing in us by designing and funding the project. People welcomed us wholeheartedly, made arrangements of our hosting,” he notes. “It was like a festival along the shores.”
 
The 1998-model bus, painted in dark red, initially plied for public transportation in Thrissur, is their performing space where they travel to shores after shoes with their families like a community meeting another community and spending some good time together.
 
Oorali will perform next month at the biennale premises towards the end of the festival. That will be the third phase of their project.
 
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Kovind presents Tagore Award to Rajkumar Singhajit Singh, Chhayanaut and Ram Sutar Vanji

President Ram Nath Kovind presenting the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for the year 2016 to sculptor Ram Sutar Vanji in New Delhi on February 18, 2019.
President Ram Nath Kovind presenting the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for the year 2016 to sculptor Ram Sutar Vanji in New Delhi on February 18, 2019.
President Ram Nath Kovind today presented the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony to Manipuri dance guru Rajkumar Singhajit Singh, Chhayanaut, a cultural organization of Bangladesh and noted sculptor Ram Sutar Vanji for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively.
 
Speaking on the occasion, the President said the award was a celebration of Indian traditions of culture and of our civilisational wealth – whether in literature or music, art or drama, sculpture or handicrafts, design or digital art. 
 
Each region in our country has a distinct cultural identity. Yet, in its essence, culture does not divide – it unites and harmonises all of India and all of humanity, he said.
 
Pointing to the contributions of the award winners, Kovind said Rajkumar Singhajit Singh, one of the greatest exponents of Manipuri dance, has bridged this age-old art form of Manipur with not only modern sensibilities but with other parts of the country. 
 
Chhayanaut is an organisation that has promoted and preserved the works and philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore in Bangladesh. 
 
Ram Sutar is a sculptor and scholar who represents an art tradition that goes back thousands of years to India’s ancient past. These days he is most well-known for the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, located at Sardar Sarovar Dam, Kevadia in Gujarat. Known as the Statue of Unity, it is the world’s tallest statue at 182 metres.   
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Minister for Culture Mahesh Sharma were present at the award function.
 
Congratulating the awardees, Modi said it was Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore who understood the strength of diversity of the country and inculcated it in his Rabindra Sangeet. A respected figure across the world, the character and message emanating from his works transcend time and circumstance. 
 
In view of the conditions which prevail in the world today, it has become even more relevant to propagate the poet laureate’s message of harmony and peace, he added.
 
Sharma said it was a matter of great pride to honour Rajkumar Singhajit Singh, Chhayanaut and Ram Vanji Sutar who have done great work to carry forward the legacy of cultural harmony of Rabindranath Tagore.  
 
The awards are open to all persons regardless of nationality, race, language, caste, creed or gender, the Minister added.
 
Expressing gratitude for the recognition, the award recipients said they were honoured to receive the award and inspired to pass on the message of fellowship and harmony as a symbol of Gurudev Tagore’s legacy.
 
Tagore Award is given annually and carries a cash component of Rs one crore (convertible to foreign currency), a citation in a scroll, a plaque as well as an exquisite traditional handicraft/ handloom item.
 
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Kovind to present Tagore Award to Rajkumar Singhajit Singh, Chhayanaut and Ram Sutar Vanji

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President Ram Nath Kovind will present the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony to Manipuri dance guru Rajkumar Singhajit Singh, Chhayanaut, a cultural organization of Bangladesh and noted sculptor Ram Sutar Vanji for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively, on February 18.
 
Rajkumar Singhajit Singh is a leading exponent and choreographer of Manipuri, including the Pung cholom and Raslila. 
 
The Chhayanaut Sangeet Vidyatan is an institution devoted to Bengali culture, founded in Bangladesh in 1961.
 
Ram Sutar’s latest work is the Statue of Unity of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, located at Sardar Sarovar Dam, Kevadia in Gujarat. It is the world’s tallest statue at 182 metres.   
 
The Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony was instituted by the Union Government in 2012 recognizing the contributions made by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore to humanity at large with his works and ideas, as part of the commemoration of the Nobel laureate's 150th birth anniversary in 2012. 
 
The annual award carries an amount of Rs 1 crore (convertible to foreign currency), a citation in a scroll, a plaque as well as an exquisite traditional handicraft/handloom item.  The award may be divided between two persons/institutions who are considered by the Jury to be equally deserving of recognition in a given year.
 
The jury comprises the Prime Minister as Chairman (ex-officio), Chief Justice of India, Member (ex-officio), Leader of the Opposition recognized as such in the Lok Sabha or where there is no such Leader of Opposition then, the Leader of the single largest opposition party in that House, Member (ex-officio), two eminent persons and two nominated members.
 
 N Gopalaswami and Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) & President, Indian Council for Cultural Relations were nominated by Chairman of the Jury as members on the Jury of Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for a period of three years from July 16, 2018.
 
The award is given to individuals, associations, institutions or organizations for their outstanding contribution towards promoting values of cultural harmony. The award is open to all persons regardless of nationality, race, language, caste, creed or gender. 
 
Normally, contributions made during ten years immediately preceding the nomination are considered. Older contributions may also be considered if their significance has become apparent only recently.  
 
A written work, in order to be eligible for consideration, should have been published during the last ten years. Work by a person since deceased cannot be the subject of an award.  If, however, his death occurred subsequent to a proposal having been submitted to the jury in the manner stipulated in the Code of Procedure, then a posthumous award may be made.
 
The first Tagore Award in 2012 was conferred upon sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar and the second upon Zubin Mehta, well-known Indian conductor of Western classical music.
 
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Govt. denies scrapping NGMA Advisory Committees, says their terms had ended

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The Government has denied actor Amol Palekar's allegation that the advisory committees of National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in Mumbai and Bengaluru had been scrapped after a controversy broke out over NGMA officials interrupting his speech at an event in Mumbai on Friday.
 
A video posted on social media showed Palekar, 74, criticising the Ministry of Culture, during the inauguration of an exhibition in memory of artist Prabhakar Barwe for allegedly scrapping the advisory committees at NGMA's Mumbai and Bengaluru centres.
 
Later, on Sunday, Palekar said he was only trying to find out why the retrospectives of two senior artists in Mumbai had been cancelled.
 
"The Advisory Committees of NGMA Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi have not been dissolved. Their terms have ended recently (Mumbai and Bengaluru committee terms ended on 15 November 2018 and of Delhi on 17 January 2019). The committees are in the process of being reconstituted," a statement from the Ministry said on Sunday evening.
 
The statement also made it clear that the recommendations of previous Advisory Committees (which are up to December 2019 for NGMA, Mumbai) would be honoured and exhibitions of artists will be held as proposed. The new advisory committee will take a decision relating to future exhibitions, it said.
 
"Regarding permanent collections, it is clarified that NGMA proposes to display its own collections (including art works by great masters) initially over a two-year period. Some artists have expressed their apprehensions about availability of less space for temporary exhibitions and retrospectives. NGMA is deliberating on suggestions received from artists, and a final decision will be taken shortly in consultation with all stakeholders," the statement added.
 
The move by the NGMA officials to prevent Palekar from continuing with his criticism came under attack in several quarters, with many of them, including political leaders alleging that this was part of the ruling dispensation's efforts to police people's speech, thoughts and ideas.
 
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More than 1800 mementoes received by PM auctioned in fortnight-long process

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More than 1,800 mementoes received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his term so far in office were auctioned to the highest bidders during a fortnight-long process that ended on Saturday.
 
The process consisted of two parts – a physical auction organized at the National Gallery of Modern Art for two days and an e-auction through the website pmmementos.gov.in.
 
The proceeds from this auction will go towards supporting the Namami Gange project, an official press release said.
 
During the auction organized at NGMA, a specially handcrafted wooden bike, received a successful bid of Rs 5 lakh. A similar bid was also received for a painting, which depicts Modi on a railway platform.
 
Some spectacular bids were received during the e-auction as well. A statuette of Lord Shiva, which had a base price of Rs 5000, was auctioned for Rs 10 lakh. A wooden replica of the Ashok Stambh, which had a base price of Rs 4000 was auctioned for Rs 13 lakh.
 
A traditional “Horai”, received from Majuli, Assam, (a traditional symbol of the state of Assam - an offering tray with a stand), which had a base price of Rs 2000 was auctioned for Rs 12 lakh.
 
A memento entitled “Divinity” received from SGPC, Amritsar, which had a base price of Rs 10,000 was auctioned for Rs 10.1 lakh.
 
A statuette of Gautam Buddha, which had a base price of Rs 4000 was auctioned for Rs 7 lakh. A traditional brass statue of a lion received from Sushil Koirala, former Prime Minister of Nepal, was auctioned for Rs 5.20 lakh.
 
A silver vase (Kalash) with embossing, with a base price of Rs 10,000 was auctioned for Rs 6 lakh. Many other mementoes fetched an auction value that is several times their base price, the release said.
 
Modi, even as Chief Minister of Gujarat, used to auction mementoes received by him, so that the proceeds could go for the education of girl children. 
 
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Two free guided tours in Agra this week as part of India Heritage Walk Festival

Tomb of I'timad-Ud-Daulah in Agra
Tomb of I'timad-Ud-Daulah in Agra
When Mughal empress Nur Jahan, the wife of Emperor Jahangir, built a tomb for her Persian father I'timad-Ud-Daulah in Agra between 1622 and 1628, it turned out to be  an imposing architectural masterpiece,  an artistic symbol of filial devotion and a statement of her royal power.  
 
A free guided walk on February 9, conducted as part of the second edition of India Heritage Walk Festival (IHWF), will offer a chance to the participants to uncover how the position of a mausoleum in Mughal India metamorphosed into its peculiar stylistic character, providing immortality not only to the deceased and to the patron, but also to that particular time.
 
Agra is among 37 cities hosting the month-long, multi-city IHWF 2019, organised jointly by Sahapedia, the online resource on Indian arts and culture, and UNESCO, to encourage citizens to explore the tangible and intangible heritage of their cities and towns. 
 
Shivani Gupta, who pursued Masters in Fine Arts from Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara (Gujarat) and is currently a research assistant at IIT Kanpur working on the subject of hunting miniatures in Indian painting, will lead the walk to explore what makes this medieval wonder so pioneering and distinctive, introducing visitors to elements of Mughal architecture.
 
Another guided walk in Agra, slated for February 10, will explore the bylanes of the city where one can be absorbed by the aroma of the different spices, various food stalls and diverse cuisines.
 
Whether it is the century-old spice shops at Rawatpada or the delectable mutton stew at Pakiza Meat Shop, it is a wonder how different spices and flavours blend into the living history of the city, and how modern alterations to the original dishes have created new flavours that retain the cultural significance of the dish.
 
Anal Jha, a flautist, poet and designer who has worked with several fashion accessories brands across the globe, will lead this culinary tour across the old city, taking the attendees through a journey of myriad palates, ranging from Mughlai non-vegetarian cuisine to braj ke bhalle, and discuss how the different spices/preparations used by generations have influenced the food and living culture of the city.  Agra Heritage Walks is the event partner for this  heritage trail.
 
The IHWF, which received the prestigious PATA Gold Award 2018 for its maiden edition organised last year, is a one-of-its-kind month-long festival covering 37 cities, with nearly 100 heritage walks and outreach events. The month-long festival is being supported by NMDC, a state-run mineral producer and explorer. 
 
The events’ bookings are facilitated by Odigos, an app that makes travel and discovery easier in India. 
 
Vaibhav Chauhan, Festival Director (IHWF) and Secretary, Sahapedia, said: “We want to democratise access to local history and culture. One might be living in the same neighbourhood for years, but there is a big chance that an important landmark, tucked away in a back alley, has been missed and forgotten. The IHWF is that opportunity to discover the hidden gems linked to the history of a place, town or city.”
 
Junhi Han, Head and Programme Specialist for Culture, UNESCO New Delhi office, said, “The IHWF programme addresses knowledge of local architectural heritage, sustainable tourism, with a special focus on gender-related issues and accessibility in cultural heritage facilitating more inclusive and better outreach. The festival is expected to involve, engage and sensitize more people, in particular the youth, about their cultural heritage.”
 
Details about the walks, registration and other programmes of IHWF 2019 are available here.
 
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Kovind presents Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards 2017 to 42 artistes

President Ram Nath Kovind with the recipients of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards for 2017, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on February 6, 2019.
President Ram Nath Kovind with the recipients of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards for 2017, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on February 6, 2019.
President Ram Nath Kovind presented the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards for the year 201 to 42 eminent artistes at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan here today.
 
The General Council of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the national academy of Music, Dance and Drama, an autonomous body of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India at its meeting held on June 8, 2018 in Imphal, Manipur, had selected the 42 artistes for the awards from the fields of Music, Dance, Theatre, Traditional/Folk/Tribal Music/Dance/Theatre, Puppetry and Overall contribution/scholarship in the Performing Arts. 
 
The 42 artistes include one joint award, an official press release said.
 
In the field of Music, eleven artistes received the award. They are Lalith J Rao - Hindustani Vocal, Umakant Gundecha and Ramakant Gundecha (Gundecha Brothers) (Joint Award) - Hindustani Vocal, Yogesh Samsi - Hindustani Instrumental- Tabla,  Rajendra Prasanna - Hindustani Instrumental - Shehnnai/Flute, M.S.Sheela - Carnatic Vocal, Suma Sudhindra - Carnatic Instrumental – Veena, Tiruvarur Vaidyanathan - Carnatic Insrumental – Mridangam, Shashank Subramanyam - Carnatic Instrumental – Flute, Madhurani- Other Major Traditions of Music -Sugam Sangeet, Haimanti Sukla -Other Major Traditions of Music -Sugam Sangeet, and Gurnam Singh - Other Major Traditions of Music - Gurbani.
 
In the Field of Dance, nine artistes got the awards. They are: Rama Vaidyanathan for Bharatanatyam, Shobha Koser for Kathak, Madambi Subramanian for Kathakali, L. N. Oinam Ongbi Dhoni Devi for Manipuri, Deepika Reddy for Kuchipudi, Sujata Mohapatra for Odissi, Ramkrishna Talukdar for Sattriya, Janmajay Saibabu for Chhau, and Aashit Desai for Music for Dance.   
 
In the field of Theatre, nine artistes received the Akademi Awards 2017. They are Abhiram Bhadakamkar for Playwriting, Sunil Shanbagh for Direction, Bapi Bose for Direction, Hema Singh for Acting, Deepak Tiwari for Acting, Anil Tickoo for Acting, Nuruddin Ahmed for Allied Theatre Arts - (Stage Craft), Avtar Sahani for Allied Theatre Arts - (Lighting), Shougrakpam Hemanta Singh for Other Major Traditions of Theatre - Shumang Leela, Manipur.
 
In the field of Traditional/Folk/Tribal Music/Dance/Theatre and Puppetry,  ten artistes received the awards. They are: Anwar Khan Manganiyar , Folk Music, Rajasthan, Prakash Khandge, Folk Arts, Maharashtra Jagannath Bayan, Traditional Music - Khol, Assam, Ramchandra Majhi, Folk Music, Bihar, Rakesh Tiwari, Folk Theatre, Chhattisgarh, Parvathy Baul, Folk Music (Baul),  West Bengal, Saravjit Kaur, Folk Music, Punjab, K.C. Runremsangi, Folk Music, Mizoram, Mukund Nayak, Folk Music, Jharkhand, and Sudip Gupta, Puppetry, West Bengal.
 
Vijay Verma and Sandhya Purecha were given the Akademi Award 2017 in the field of Overall Contribution/Scholarship in the Performing Arts.
 
The honour of Akademi Award has been conferred since 1952. These honours not only symbolize the highest standard of excellence and achievements, but also recognize sustained individual work and contribution. 
 
The award carries a cash component of Rs 1 lakh, besides a Tamrapatra and Angavastram.
 
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President to confer Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards for 2017 on 42 artistes on Wednesday

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President Ram Nath Kovind will confer the prestigious Sangget Natak Akademi Awards for 2017 on 42 artistes at a special investiture ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan here tomorrow.
 
The General Council of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the national academy of Music, Dance and Drama, an autonomous body of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India at its meeting held on June 8, 2018 in Imphal, Manipur had selected the 42 artistes for the awards from the fields of Music, Dance, Theatre, Traditional/Folk/Tribal Music/Dance/Theatre, Puppetry and Overall contribution/scholarship in the Performing Arts. 
 
The 42 artistes include one joint award, an official press release said.
 
In the field of Music, eleven artistes have been chosen for the award. They are Lalith J Rao - Hindustani Vocal, Umakant Gundecha and Ramakant Gundecha (Gundecha Brothers) (Joint Award) - Hindustani Vocal, Yogesh Samsi - Hindustani Instrumental- Tabla,  Rajendra Prasanna - Hindustani Instrumental - Shehnnai/Flute, M.S.Sheela - Carnatic Vocal, Suma Sudhindra - Carnatic Instrumental – Veena, Tiruvarur Vaidyanathan - Carnatic Insrumental – Mridangam, Shashank Subramanyam - Carnatic Instrumental – Flute, Madhurani- Other Major Traditions of Music -Sugam Sangeet, Haimanti Sukla -Other Major Traditions of Music -Sugam Sangeet, and Gurnam Singh - Other Major Traditions of Music - Gurbani.
 
In the Field of Dance, nine artistes have been selected for the awards. They are: Rama Vaidyanathan for Bharatanatyam, Shobha Koser for Kathak, Madambi Subramanian for Kathakali, L. N. Oinam Ongbi Dhoni Devi for Manipuri, Deepika Reddy for Kuchipudi, Sujata Mohapatra for Odissi, Ramkrishna Talukdar for Sattriya, Janmajay Saibabu for Chhau, and Aashit Desai for Music for Dance.   
 
In the field of Theatre, nine artistes have been selected for the Akademi Awards 2017. They are Abhiram Bhadakamkar for Playwriting, Sunil Shanbagh for Direction, Bapi Bose for Direction, Hema Singh for Acting, Deepak Tiwari for Acting, Anil Tickoo for Acting, Nuruddin Ahmed for Allied Theatre Arts - (Stage Craft), Avtar Sahani for Allied Theatre Arts - (Lighting), Shougrakpam Hemanta Singh for Other Major Traditions of Theatre - Shumang Leela, Manipur.
 
In the field of Traditional/Folk/Tribal Music/Dance/Theatre and Puppetry,  ten artistes have been selected for the awards. They are: Anwar Khan Manganiyar , Folk Music, Rajasthan, Prakash Khandge, Folk Arts, Maharashtra Jagannath Bayan, Traditional Music - Khol, Assam, Ramchandra Majhi, Folk Music, Bihar, Rakesh Tiwari, Folk Theatre, Chhattisgarh, Parvathy Baul, Folk Music (Baul),  West Bengal, Saravjit Kaur, Folk Music, Punjab, K.C. Runremsangi, Folk Music, Mizoram, Mukund Nayak, Folk Music, Jharkhand, and Sudip Gupta, Puppetry, West Bengal.
 
Vijay Verma and Sandhya Purecha have been selected for the Akademi Award 2017 in the field of Overall Contribution/Scholarship in the Performing Arts.
 
The honour of Akademi Award has been conferred since 1952. These honours not only symbolize the highest standard of excellence and achievements, but also recognize sustained individual work and contribution. 
 
The award carries with it Rs 1 lakh, besides a Tamrapatra and Angavastram.
 
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20th Bharat Rang Mahotsav gets under way in New Delhi

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The 20th Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM), a 21-day national theatre festival and the largest event of its kind in Asia, hosted by the National School of Drama (NSD), got under way at the Kamani Auditorium here on Saturday.
 
The event was inaugurated by Minister for Culture Mahesh Sharma in the presence of NSD Acting Chairman Arjun Deo Charan, renowned  danseuse, theatre artiste and Rajya Sabha member Sonal Mansingh and former NSD Director Ram Gopal Bajaj, among others.
 
NSD is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
 
The 20th BRM will feature 111 national and international acts, including folk and other traditional theatre forms, invitee plays and produtions by the students of NSD.
 
The inaugural ceremony was followed by a 50-minute musical performance ‘Karanth ke Rang’ based on the compositions of late B V Karanth, directed by Amod Bhatt and presented by Rangpurva group, Mumbai. Karanth was a well-known director, actor and musician of modern Indian theatre in Kannada as well as Hindi. His plays like ‘Jokumara Swamy’, ‘Sankranti’, ‘Huchu Kudure’, and ‘Oedipus’ were trendsetters, which touched upon aspects of language music, songs and stylization. Karanth’s use of unusual instruments such as wood, stones, etc. in creating music and his ability to blend contemporary, classical and folk genres reflected his originality and style. He was an alumnus of batch 1962 of NSD and later became its director.
 
This year's BRM will also include allied activities such as ‘Director’s Meet’, ‘Living Legends’, and ‘Master Class’.  
 
Apart from New Delhi, the NSD has arranged parallel festivals of the 20th BRM in Dibrugarh (4th to 10th February, 2019), Varanasi (7th to 13th February, 2019), Ranchi (9th to 15th February, 2019), Mysore (11th to 17th February, 2019), and Rajkot (13th to 19th February, 2019). The festival will culminate in New Delhi on 21st February, 2019
 
Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM) was established two decades ago to stimulate the growth and development of theatre across India. Originally a national festival showcasing the work of the most creative theatre workers in India, BRM has evolved into an international event, hosting theatre groups from around the world, and is now the largest theatre festival of Asia.
 
Till date, BRM has presented 1787 plays, and riveted thousands of theatre-goers.
 
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Saregama offers devotional songs without internet with Carvaan Mini Bhakti

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Saregama, formerly known as The Gramophone Company of India Ltd, which owns the largest music archives in India and one of the biggest in the world, today announced the launch of Carvaan Mini Bhakti, a product designed to cater the generation that has high dependency on others to listen to their favourite devotional songs.
 
It has preloaded 300 devotional songs and can be started with just press of a button, a press release from the company said.
 
"Like other Carvaan devices, it does not need internet or connectivity with your phone to play it. A perfect device to start your day!" it said.
 
Categorized by deities like Shiv, Ganesh, Krishna, Sai, Devi and Ram, Hanuman, Carvaan Mini Bhakti has a pre-loaded repertoire of 300 songs - bhajans, aartis, mantras and more. Much like the previous versions of Carvaan Mini, it is compact in size with power speakers and features like AM/FM, Bluetooth and a USB to enjoy one’s personal favorites as well. 
 
"The mornings in most homes in India start with devotional practices and it is considered as integral part of our culture. What better can we ask for, but the company of melodies sung by Asha Bhosle, Sonu Nigam, Anup Jalota and many more prominent artists during mornings Puja and offerings. Shirdi ke Sai Baba, Tune mujhe bulaya.. and O shreawali among other songs will fill your heart with devotion," the release said.
 
Vikram Mehra, Managing Director, Saregama India says, “Carvaan is an undoubted success in India and expanding across the globe now. New variants of the product is launched based on our customer feedbacks and demands. We are proud to have constantly been able address the need between the demand and supply. With launch of a new variant – Carvaan Mini Bhakti, we hope the experience of listing to devotional songs is enhanced and made easier.”
 
This mini version of Carvaan has a long lasting battery of up to 4 hours. The product also offers a 6-month warranty.
 
"The Carvaan Mini Bhakti is economically priced at Rs 2490 and will be available on Saregama website and your nearest retail outlets," the release added.
 
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Well-known Malayalam actor-director Sreenivasan hospitalised

Sreenivasan
Sreenivasan
Well-known Malayalam film actor and director Sreenivasan was admitted to a private hospital here today after complaining of acute breathlessness and chest pain.
 
Sources in the Ernakulam Medical Centre (EMC) told NetIndian that Sreenivasan, 62, was admitted to the intensive coronary care unit (ICCU) and kept on ventilator support.
 
He said the actor's vital parameters, which were weak at the time of admission around 9.45 am, had improved.
 
Doctors treating him would meet around 11 am tomorrow to discuss the further course of treatment, the sources added.
 
Sreenivasan was dubbing for a new movie at a studio in the Kakkanad area of the city when he complained of the uneasiness and was rushed to the hospital, located near the Palarivattom Junction.
 
“Actor Mr Sreenivasan, aged 62 years, presented to the emergency department of this hospital on 30.01.2019 at 9:46 am with complaints of acute breathlessness, following physical exertion. Patient was hemodynamically unstable on presentation, suggestive of Acute Left Ventricular Failure, warranting admission to Intensive Coronary Care Unite where he was intubated and ventilated in view of his poor oxygen saturation following persisting dysponea. He is being treated by a team of specialists consisting of Cardiologist, Intensivist, Anesthesiologist and Physician," a statement from the hospital said.
 
“Professional diagnosis: Accelerated hypertension, Acute LVF on a previously diagnosed patient with Hypertension, Diabetes, IHD, Old CVA. At present, patient is in the ICU with ventilatory support, hemodynamically stable," the statement added.
 
Sreenivasan, who has a huge fan following, has excelled in comic and character roles and is also an acclaimed scriptwriter in Malayalam cinema. He has also produced movies.
 
In January last year, Sreenivasan had been hospitalised for some days due to variations in his blood sugar level.
 
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NGMA to launch 'Night at the Museum' on Wednesday night

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The National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) here will hold the first edition of a new initiative, 'Night at the Museum', here tonight in collaboration with the India Art Fair.
 
As part of the event, to be held from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm. NGMA shall conduct a guided tour of its prestigious permanent collection which is on display at the permanent gallery. 
 
Highlight objects include works of art of Amrita Sher-Gil, Rabindranath Tagore, Raja Ravi Verma, Nandalal Bose, Jamini Roy, to name a few, an official press release said.
 
Visitors would also get an opportunity to view special exhibitions entitled Roopantar, an exhibition of sculptures from the treasures in NGMA and Dandi Yatra, an exhibition that pays homage to the iconic Dandi March, the release said.
 
NGMA aims to conduct Night at the Museum as a regular activity and organise it on the last working day of every month. 
 
The details of activities will be available on NGMA's official website and Facebook page. 
 
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Javadekar to inaugurate new campus for National Museum Institute in Noida on Wednesday

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Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar will inaugurate the new campus of the National Museum Institute at Sector 62 in the Institutional Area in Noida near here tomorrow.
 
The National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology (NMI) is one of the leading centres in the country for training and research in the field of art and cultural heritage. It imparts higher education leading to Master of Arts and PhD in the field of History of Art, Conservation and Museology.
 
The institute is a registered Society (Deemed to be University) under the Societies Registration Act 1860, fully funded by the Ministry of Culture.
 
It was formed and registered on January 27, 1989, and was accorded the status of ‘Deemed to be University’ on April 28, 1989, under the UGC Act 3 of 1956. The degree programs, MA, PhD as well as short-term courses commenced in 1990.
 
As approved by the Academic Council and its highest body, the Society of which the Chairman is the Minister of Culture, four new courses -- Archaeology;  Palaeography, Epigraphy & Numismatics; Structural Conservation and Cultural & Heritage Management,  are expected to be started soon.
 
In addition to these regular courses, short-term courses of five-months duration, Art Appreciation and Bhartiya Kalanidhi (Hindi),  which are very popular, are also conducted by the institute to disseminate knowledge about the country’s tangible and intangible heritage.
 
Right from the beginning, the National Museum Institute has been working from the first floor of the National Museum, Janpath, New Delhi.  For its independent campus, a land of approximately 12000 sq. m was allotted in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
 
In view of the requirement of different segments of the complex, a total budget of  Rs 90.40 crore (including 10% escalation charges) was approved by the Standing Finance Committee, Ministry of Culture and the project work was allotted to CPWD.
 
The foundation stone was laid by on January 31, 2015, by Minister of State for Culture Dr Mahesh Sharma, who is also the Chancellor of the Institute.  After preparing the drawings/ layouts of the building structures and getting clearances from different agencies involved and approval from the NMI, the construction work began in April 2017.
 
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Day one of auction of mementos received by Modi sees overwhelming response

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The physical auction of mementoes received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today received an overwhelming response from bidders on day one, an official press release said. 
 
The two-day physical auction organised by the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, will be followed by e-auction from January 29-31 for the remaining items which are not sold during the physical auction on this portal
 
The items that were auctioned included statues, photographs, paintings and articles such as angavastram, shawls, commemorative coins, traditional musical instruments, hats, pagris and jackets, to name a few. 
 
There has been tremendous buzz generated in respect of these gift items in view of the fact that these items have been accessible to the general public through auction being espoused for the noble charitable work. The proceeds contribute towards the project ‘Namami Gange’.
 
The bidders supported the cause wholeheartedly as certain items such as statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, base priced at Rs 1000, was finally auctioned for Rs 22,000, items such as statues of Gautam Buddha, portraits, photographs and paintings of Prime Minister, 3D painting of  Gomukh (origin of the Ganga), statue of Mahatma Basveshwara, statue of Swami Vivekananda and silver coated Shivlinga were also auctioned at a high price. 
 
The items were on display at the National Gallery of Modern Art. 
 
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Kochi Biennale to screen films on artists Kaushik Mukhopadhyay, Nilima Sheikh

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale will give this week a peek into the life and work of two leading Indian artists, with films on Kaushik Mukhopadhyay and Nilima Sheikh set to be shown on Monday and Tuesday at a key venue of the festival.
 
Both the movies are directed by noted cinematographer Avijit Mukul Kishore, and will be screened at the Pavilion in Cabral Yard at Fort Kochi. ‘Squeeze Lime in Your Eye’ on Monday, followed by ‘The Garden of Forgotten Snow’ the next evening.
 
Avijit, who is based in Mumbai, works in documentary and interdisciplinary moving-image practices while also being a curator. He also collaborates with visual artists on moving-image-based art projects and is a lecturer in film and media schools.
 
‘Squeeze Lime in Your Eye’ essays the inimitable Mukhopadhyay and his works that “exist at a peculiar intersection of machine, organism and toy”, says Avijit. “The artist uses discarded household objects to create works that are fragile, humorous and poignant.”
 
The hour-long film made last year traverses the overlapping spaces of art, invention and pedagogy through Mukopadhyay’s work, following him through his 2017 solo titled ‘Squeeze Lime in Your Eye’ and his practice as a teacher in an architecture school in Mumbai.
 
‘The Garden of Forgotten Snow’, about septuagenarian Nilima’s art practice and her engagement with Kashmir over decades, traverses “the many layers of memory and history as embodied in her work”, the filmmaker says. The 30-minute work also scans the pertinent literary and art-historical traditions.
 
Baroda-based Nilima’s work is on at the 108-day biennale that ends on March 29.
 
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Five-day long ‘Bharat Parv’ begins at Red Fort in Delhi

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‘Bharat Parv’ (India Festival), a five-day event showcasing the spirit of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat, began at Red Fort here on Saturday as part of the Republic Day 2019 celebrations. 
 
Satyajeet Rajan, Director General, Ministry of Tourism inaugurated the Parv, now in its fourth edition, which will be open till January 31. 
 
It has been organized by the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with other Central Ministries and State Governments.
 
Bharat Parv will be open for public from 12 noon to 10 pm during this period, and the entry will be free. However, identity proof is to be carried for entry to the event. 
 
The major highlights of this year are the replica of the Statue of Unity created by sculptor Ram Vanji Suttar and a Gandhi Gram in which ten artists will create paintings on the theme of 'Ideology of Mahatma Gandhi'.
 
Other highlights of this year are the display of Republic Day Parade Tableaux, performances by the Armed Forces Bands (static as well as dynamic), and Photo Exhibition by the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP). 
 
The event will also include IRCTC’s promotions on special tourist trains, ‘Jago Grahak Jago’ Consumer Awareness campaign, and exhibition-cum-sale of crafts items. 
 
The Parv is also hosting Theme State Pavilions where each State showcases its strength along with its tourism products. The other attractions are a multi-cuisine food court, Crafts Mela and cultural performances from different regions of the country. The Food Court will have stalls set up by States and Union Territories and the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) showcasing street food from different regions. 
 
A live ‘Cookery Demonstration Area’ has been set up in the food court to promote cuisines of different States of India. 
 
In addition to these, the North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC) will be conducting daily cultural performances from different regions of the country, an official press release added.
 
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‘Artivist’ and her feminism library add to biennale’s infra-project

The red-and-white-walled Pepper House sports a pinkish library in one corner these days, and there’s something particularly striking about its books: the authors are solely women.
 
Gender inequality across the world and caste hierarchy in India form the chunk of the subjects in the collection with feminist perspectives that bear a historical approach as well. There are graphic novels as well as illustrated zines — those low-cost self-publications aiming a small circulation. All of it by young artist-archivist Aqui Thami.
 
The 29-year-old activist has been working on this moving library that is an infra-project under the ongoing Kochi-Muziris Biennale. ‘Sister Library’, as it is called, reflects on the general reading culture in the country even as it seeks to “celebrate the contributions of women in the creative world”.
 
The 100-book library, along with Thami, has so far travelled five cities: Goa, Delhi, Pune, Mumbai and Bengaluru. The sixth has been this coastal Kerala city amid the subcontinent’s biggest contemporary art festival that is on till March 29. Starting this week at the sea-facing venue of Pepper House in Fort Kochi, she is leading a month-long workshop featuring feminism-centric reading sessions, film shows, talks, discussions and art workshops.
 
So, why the word ‘Sister’ ahead of library? “Well, ‘sister’ is a word of solidarity that brings together women from all class, region or language,” explains Thami, who lives in Mumbai after having been brought up in West Bengal’s hilly Darjeeling.
 
Artist Anita Dube, who is curator of the 108-day biennale that began on December 12, notes Sister Library “aptly describes” the festival’s two running themes: feminism and pedagogy. “Aqui has prioritised through her workshops and aesthetics that learning can be pleasurable and accessible,” Dube notes. “This is a major aim for me.”
 
According to Thami, the year-old project is still evolving and generative. “The idea is to engage in an in-depth reflection on the visual and reading culture prevalent among women,” she says. “The library will make people look at the works of women seriously. The readers can celebrate the ideas of women authors,” she says. “The perception of women will be widely shared. It will start help shift some of the general perceptions about women around and hopefully bring a change some day.”
 
The artist had visited the biennale during its previous (2016) chapter. To be part of the latest edition is “great”, she feels, for the ongoing biennale women forming more than half of the 90-plus artists. Hailing curator Anita Dube’s vision, Thami says the biennale has boosted “artists, like me, who belong to an indigenous culture and come from the global south.”
 
Thami’s work reflects on the absence of safe community spaces that allow women to read works about other women. “Works of women writers are not easily available. It took me years to have collection of around 4,000 books. I come from the mountains that has an indigenous community, I have gone through so much intergenerational trauma. I face a lot of racism in the land. I went through a very dark age of my life where art became a ray of light and a healing element,” adds Thami, who received the 2017 Inlaks Fine Art Award for the project.
 
Some of the notable authors in her treasured collection include Sylvia Plath, Ursula le Guin Alison Bechdel, Naomi Wolf, Gloria Steinem, Susan Sontag, bell hooks, Simone de Beauvoir and Audre Lorde. Alongside them were displayed the works of Ishmat Chugtai, Imitiaz Dharker, Sharmila Rege, Taslima Nasrin, and Nayyirah Waheed besides plenty of non-fictional works on intersectional feminist history.
 
Thami has been working in the Dharavi Art Room at Mumbai with its founder-educator Himanshu Shady since 2012, providing women and children in the community with a place to express and heal them through art.
 
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Art Rises for Kerala auction raises Rs 3.2 crore for flood relief

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A first-ever international live contemporary art auction in Kerala saw all its works getting sold out and the proceeds of Rs 3.2 crore set to be donated to the state government’s rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of the natural calamity five months ago.
 
The auction, conducted by Mumbai-based Saffronart and the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) last weekend, had no buyer’s premium — and comprised 42 artworks donated by leading Indian and international artists, gallerists and collectors. 
 
The amount from the Friday night event at the Grand Hyatt in Kochi is going to the Kerala Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund for the benefit of the people hit by the floods and landslides in August last year. 
 
The sale was led by eminent artist Anish Kapoor’s Untitled, 2018, a vivid blue canvas-and-resin work that sold for Rs 1.3 crore.
 
The KBF noted that the Kerala government has been the principal supporter of the biennale which has its fourth edition on for 108 days till March 29. 
 
“We’re proud to have been able to bring together the artist community to rebuild Kerala,” said KBF president Bose Krishnamachari. “I’m also happy that along with the important collectors in India, a new generation of art collectors have come forward in Kerala.I hope that this will strengthen the ecosystem for art here.”
 
Saffronart said it had partnered with the KBF once again in solidarity with the people of Kerala. “We thank the art community for their generous support in both donating and bidding on works for this important cause,” said Saffronart CEO Dinesh Vazirani. “We hope that the funds raised through this auction, with artworks by some of India’s leading artists, will support the commendable rebuilding efforts initiated by the state government that are already underway.” 
 
Sunil V, Secretary of the KBF, thanked the artists who generously contributed to the cause. “We also want to thank Saffronart and Dinesh Vazirani for their partnership,” he added.
 
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Kochi Biennale: Annu Matthew’s work pays homage to forgotten WWII heroes

Through her work that draws attention to parallel histories of immigrants and women among communities, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew hopes to enrich a collective cultural conversation with amplified voices. 
 
“I do this by drawing on history and the connected role of memory and its effect on identity,” says the 55-year-old artist about her exhibit at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.
 
The ongoing fourth edition of the art festival showcases US-based Annu’s video work titled ‘Unremembered: The Indian soldiers of the Italian Campaign of World War II’. The project is about the forgotten history of Indian (South Asian) soldiers who fought during the Italian Campaign of the global conflict that lasted from 1939 to ’45.
 
“I stumbled upon the powerful story of a politically-complicated role of Indian soldiers who fought for the British colonial power during WWII,” notes the artist, a professor of art at the University of Rhode Island, 250 km northeast of New York. “I came across it through my decade-long research on the Partition of British India.”
 
This war had nearly 2.5 million Indians volunteering to fight for the British. In the end, no less than 87,000 people died. The Indian troops did achieve something particularly inspiring what with their role proving critical in winning a decisive battle at Monte Cassino and others in Italy against the Axis powers.
 
“The tenacity of the troops, especially that of Indian soldiers, is reflected in their being honoured with 30 per cent of the Victoria Crosses the British government awarded to all of the soldiers fighting in Italy during the war,” adds Annu, who was born in London and raised partly in India (largely Bangalore).
 
As for the installation at the main biennale venue of Aspinwall House in Fort Kochi, the video spanning 3 minutes and 20 seconds has a reflection pool. The work builds on the idea that military cemeteries memorialise the dead while simultaneously reminding the living of their possible complicity in the same soldiers’ deaths.
 
“These spaces, embedded with multiple overlapping layers of narrative, encourage contemplation and reflection,” notes Annu. “Layering a contemporary inscription of the wartime past expands the narrative and prompts a reconsideration. It goes on to evolve as a dialogue of the larger history of WWII and the understanding of the complexities of the Partition of British India.”
 
Annu, with familial roots in Kerala, started her research on the project one-and-a-half years ahead of the biennale. She did her test shots while she was attending the Rome Summer Fellow at Richmond International University in 2017. “For that, I projected archival footage of the Indian soldiers in Italy during WWII onto the gravestones of those soldiers memorialised in Cassino, and Forli,” says the artist who was born in Stourport, England.
 
For over twenty years, she has been mining issues of identity, immigration and inter-generational memory with the insights of a woman who has twice lived the immigrant experience. The vignettes come through her photo-based works. “I work in a wide range of photographic media from the plastic-lensed ‘toy’ Holga camera, photo animation to interactive installations,” she says. “My larger work reconsiders — or what I like to call re-views — different histories. The first time I re-viewed history, it was my own childhood.”
 
Annu has predominantly worked with photography as a medium. To her, participating in the Kochi-Muziris Biennale allowed her to take the next bold move onto installation art. “Something that I have taken as a small step towards in the last few years,” she shrugs. “It has also been wonderful to see a show giving voice to many unheard narratives and to meet a number of the artists.”
 
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