Commencing on December 6, the India edition of the Silk River India’s performative walk will conclude in Kolkata, an eastern Indian city in the state of West Bengal.
The ambitious Silk River Project, a part of the UK/India2017 partnership programmes, is a year-long celebration of the relationship between India and the United Kingdom. UK/India2017 has manifested cultural exchanges in cities located in both countries in various forms. The ‘Silk River Project’, organised by Kinetika, has also aimed to explore the unique connection between the cities of London and Kolkata, through the medium of an artistic exchange involving communities along the Thames Estuary and India’s Hooghly River. The highlight of this project, performative walk in India, will commence from December 6 from Azimganj in Murshidabad and conclude on December 16 at Batanagar in Kolkata.
The performative walk is set to explore the journey on foot and by boat, with participants that include a number of international artists, writers and photographers who are set to engage and participate in a number of events. On the significance of the project, Korak Ghosh, Director of Silk River India Walk said, “Silk River to me is ‘a tale’ of two cities. Many set aside a particular time every year to remember their mutual interdependence with their river. London, among other festivities, has a month-long celebration called Totally Thames. I wanted the same for Kolkata, and my involvement with this unique event, Silk River, gives me an opportunity to remember our very own Hooghly River. We are sure that this will go a long way in making people conscious of the river, its importance and its heritage. Hopefully, it will also help us all to reinterpret and understand why we need to preserve this special bond.”
The highlight of the walk will be the gathering and retelling of stories from the 20 locations that are being visited, with an interpretation of these stories hand-painted on Murshidabad silk scrolls. These scrolls, are to be exhibited at the iconic Victoria Memorial Hall in Kolkata on December 19. Debanjan Chakrabarti, Director British Council East and Northeast India shared how the project has connected the countries. “Silk River has threaded communities and craftsmanship along with the rivers Hooghly and the Thames, creating curiosity about the rivers, the people and their culture – achieving exactly what the Year of Culture between UK and India sets out to do,” Chakrabarti added.
There will be a display of 20 scrolls in total, 10 of which have already been prepared.
Artistic weekend ahead
As part of the Silk River India Walks, an artistic weekend is being celebrated where people are invited to join in. As 15 visiting artists from the UK take part, the journey will take place form December 8 to December 10. This part of the walk will cover the places from Krishnanagar to Chandannagar, which was a former French colony.
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Talks by historian Pradeep Gooptu and by Tamal Bandhopadhyay will also be a part of the weekend. The artistic weekend, with accommodation in a 19th-century villa as well as the boat which will be transporting those involved, is set to also see interactions and cultural activities such as a visit to an artisan’s village, puppetry shows and a light display.