The two main exhibitions, organised at the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, will act as central points around which will revolve some twenty other exhibitions and numerous musical, performing arts, literature and cinema events.
The exhibition The Body in Indian Art will decode the different perceptions, traditions and beliefs linked to the body in India. Through understanding the body and over 250 art works from numerous Indian museums, the public will be able to understand the key elements that have shaped India from the third millennium BC until today.
Indomania, the second large exhibition at the Centre for Fine Arts, will highlight the theme of the encounters. It will illustrate, through a captivating narrative, the fascination and influence that Indian culture has had on European artists since the 16th century. The subheading, “From Rembrandt to the Beatles” suggests its multimedia nature, from drawings and paintings to contemporary installations, through architecture, cinema, music, literature and photography. Presenting work developed in residency in Mumbai and Hampi, the two Belgian contemporary artists Max Pinckers and Hans Op de Beeck, will echoe what indomania might be seen as today.
As for each edition, Europalia collaborates with many cultural partners, in Belgium but also in the surrounding countries. About 20 more exhibitions will cover topics as diverse as saris, architecture, the Ramayana, Bollywood, design, Sanskrit, 19th Century photography.
In Liège, a contemporary art walk through the city will focus on the theme of water through photography, video and installations. The M HKA and at the MAS in Antwerp will invite Indian contemporary artists for residencies, an installation and a symposium on contemporary art in India today. The Mas will also expose its Indian collection for the occasion.
Inseparable from one another, and also from Indian culture, music and dance will take centre stage during the festival.
In terms of music, some of the greatest masters – such as L. Subramaniam on the Carnatic violin, Amjad Ali Khan on the sarod and Ashwini Bide for Hindustani singing and amongst others – will perform the traditional and sacred music of southern and northern India. Meanwhile, encounters will be celebrated during a Sufi night and the Centre for Fine Arts and also at the many joint ventures which will pair up Indian masters with Belgian or international musicians, such as Zakir Husain and John Mc Laughlin, Chitraveena Ravikiran and Roland Van Campenhout, Ionah Trio and the dancer Yentl De Werdt, Tuur Florizoone and Trilok Gurtu. For its part, youth will express itself in the form of fusion music and DJs, including DJ Andy Votel, Dr. Das, Edo Bouman and Dom Thomas.
The europalia.india performing arts programme will reflect the country’s variety through shimmering sacred dances, ritual theatre, festive folk dances and puppet theatre. The festival will for instance host Charishnu, choregraphed and compiled by the great bharata natyam dancer Leela Samson, Kuttyatiaml performances by Kapila Veenu. Contemporary dance will be illustrated through poetic choreographies or virtuoso combinations of tradition and modernity, such as productions by the Attakalari Centre for Movement Arts. Young European and Indian talents, some in residency in Belgium during the festival, will also join forces for dialogue-choreographies between East and West.
Needless to say, Indian cinema will have its place in this festival. The programme will include retrospectives, themed events, meetings with directors, such as Anurag Kashyap, who’s latest movie “Ugly” will be premiered in Belgium at the occasion of the festival. Bollywood of course, but also Tollywood, Kollywood, Mollywood and art-house cinema.
Indian literature covers all genres: prose, poetry, epics and comics. Europalia.india will honour several Indian authors, such as Abha Dawesar, Manu Joseph and Tarun Tejpal through meetings, publications and lectures, as well as residencies.
However encounters will not be confined to museums and auditoriums. Several universities will cover the subject in depth through conference cycles and thematic exhibitions. Libraries will be responsible for spreading the Indian enthusiasm of europalia.india throughout Belgium, by organising conferences, workshops, lectures and other thematic events.
A better knowledge of each other’s culture is without any doubt an asset in our multicultural society. Europalia wants to give to as many school children as possible the opportunity to encounter different world cultures by eliminating the financial threshold. The entry price for the two main exhibitions of the festival, The Body in Indian Art and Indomania, from Rembrandt to the Beatles, will be only 1 euro for children visiting these events with their schools.
Passion or curiosity, discovery or reunion, europalia.india will allow each and everyone to find their own vision of India in a varied programme. As for the 23 previous festival, the opening will be attended by the Head of State of India and Belgium. From October 4th 2013 to January 26th 2014, europalia.india will be the opportunity to establish a hopefully lasting dialogue with the extremely prolific Indian culture.