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June - July 2006

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Dispatches & Reports


The Indian Institute of Advanced Research was officially opened by the Honourable President of India, His Excellency Shri A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on Friday, 28th April 2006 at Village Koba, Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

The opening was followed by a tour of the local area followed by dinner in the evening.
After the inauguration of the Institute a Symposium on “Frontiers of New Biology” was held.
Any further information can be obtained by contacting Mary McGowan of Purico Limited, tel. 0115 9013000 or mobile no. 07973 670788.


Mumbai, April: The vibrant city of Mumbai will be witness to the gala ceremony of the annual Liquid Bar Awards and the launch of Liquid Magazine on May 3rd 2006. The Liquid Bar Awards, which acknowledge and celebrate the increasing success and growth of the bar and drinks industry in India, is presented in association with Cobra Beer and hosted by Liquid Magazine.

The awards have been instituted to recognise some of major players who have been instrumental in strengthening India’s bar and drinks industry.

Perses Bilimoria, Regional Director of Cobra Beer commented: “We at Cobra Beer in India are delighted to be associated with the launch of Liquid Magazine in India and the first presentation of the Liquid Bar Awards. We see this as exciting synergy for the entire bar and drinks industry, the opportunities of which are yet to be unleashed.”

The Liquid Bar Awards is pleased to present Rashmi Uday Singh, Alok Chandra and Sandeep Verma as the eminent panel of judges. With years of invaluable experience and expertise in their respective fields covering a wide spectrum from liquor to food, they lend a high touch of credibility and class to these awards. The awards have seven categories: Best Bar; Best New Bar; Best New Design; Best Night Out; Best Cocktail Menu; Best Wine List and Best Music Venue, which has been sponsored by VH1.

The procedure of nomination for each category of awards was both detailed and rigorous, following which the nominated entrants are short listed. The final four short listed entrants are selected on the basis of a number of parameters and the winners will be awarded on May 3rd at an official ceremony to be held at one of Mumbai’s hottest new venues, Bohemia.

Perses Bilimoria adds: “The potential for both the Liquid Bar Awards and Liquid Magazine, going forward will be far fetching, considering the exponential growth of the drinks industry in the coming years. It will be gratifying to have both the magazine and the awards seize this glowing opportunity, in creating a niche, interactive and stylish forum for the drinks and bar industry.”

8 to 18 June 2006

Discover the extraordinary world of textiles, rugs and ethnographic works of art at the ninth annual Textile & Tribal Art: The HALI Fair which will be staged at the National Hall, Olympia, London W14, from the evening of Thursday 8 to Sunday 18 June 2006. 

Some 75 international dealers from across the five continents will offer for sale a spectrum of colour, texture and style, united by an expression of cultural variety from ancient times to the contemporary designs of today.  Prices will range from £50 to over £500,000.

The Fair, which attracts an audience of international collectors, museum curators, fashion designers, retailers, interior decorators and private buyers, is presented as three zones:
Traditional: a varied and exciting selection of woven art including rugs, kilims and textiles from Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Caucasus, India, Middle East, Persia, and Turkey.  European embroideries and tapestries jostle with 18th century Aubusson carpets; colourful costume is displayed, ranging from Japanese kimonos to Indian turbans, Mongolian wool hats to Samarkand silk ikat kaftans, beaded purses from North American tribes to batik from Indonesia; while rugs vary from rustic woven wool grain sacks to sacred and rare prayer rugs.

Tribal: ethnographic art has been studied and acquired by those with an inquiring mind for centuries and is today very much a part of the contemporary collecting and decorating scene.  “Tribal art has the extraordinary quality of being both ancient and modern. The clarity of line and focused simplicity of works give the feeling of contemporary sculpture - but without the high price tag - and a decorative effect that complements the recent taste for less fussy interiors.” (Clive Loveless, exhibitor and tribal expert).  Explore the intriguing collections from dealers in ceremonial and decorative works from Africa, Australasia, Oceania and the Americas.

Design·Zone: leading exponents of 21st century design display examples of contemporary ceramics and carpet weaving that use traditional skills.  The colours and patterns will inspire lovers of the avant garde, abstract and natural.

Halı is the modern Turkish word for carpet or rug and was written k-alı in Ottoman Turkish script until the late 19th century, as it was in classical Persian and still is in modern Persian. It was borrowed from Persian into Urdu and from Ottoman Turkish into Armenian and other Caucasian tongues and into the languages of the Balkans.  Its ultimate origin is uncertain; it could be Turkish but might be Sogdian.

The Racist attacks in London decline for sixth successive year 

Ken Livingstone has announced new figures published today showing that for the sixth year in a row racist offences in London have fallen - they are now at a record low of 11,322 in the year to March 2006.

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said:
“This is now the sixth successive year that racist attacks have fallen and we are going to continue to show zero tolerance towards any form of racism in order to make sure our city continues to benefit from the diversity that has made us such a dynamic and exciting place to live and work.
“It is a precondition of reducing racist attacks in London that London’s main institutions lead from the front by opposing racism and discrimination and this is what has happened over the last six years.

“London government will continue to take a strongly anti-racist approach in all aspects of our work so that we can build on the significant achievement of reducing the number of racist attacks.

“I would say to anyone who thinks they will succeed in using racism to divide our communities that the declining numbers of racist attacks in the capital show that in the end you will not win.”
Annual figures on race crimes from the Metropolitan Police Service

Total 2000/01  - 18168
Total 2001/02 - 15610
Total 2002/03 - 13721
Total 2003/4 - 13203
Total 2004/5 – 12816
Total 2005-06 – 11322


(Dash Arts and the British Council)
By William Shakespeare
Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
12 performances only from 7 – 17 June 2006
RSC Ticket Hotline: 0870 609 1110.

“There are so many moments of visual delight, it is breathtaking. An awesome production that fills every dark chink and bright moment of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”  (The Hindu)

Auditioning over 800 actors, dancers, martial arts experts, musicians and street acrobats from across India and Sri Lanka was the starting point for Tim Supple’s visionary production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream - a co-production between Dash Arts and the British Council.

Following two months of rehearsals in Southern India and a highly acclaimed tour of India’s major cities, the 23 strong cast and creative team will arrive in the UK next month to perform their version of Dream as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Complete Works Festival.

The play offers a faithful translation of Shakespeare’s original text and is performed in a mixture of seven languages: Bengali, Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Marathi, Sinhalese and English.

Drawing on the rich diversity of contemporary India, the production borrows practices from both modern and traditional Indian theatre and storytelling. Through a combination of vivid physical theatre, music and performance, mythic warriors, lovers, artisans and spirits combine in Shakespeare’s masterpiece about social conventions and the madness of love.

Tim Supple said: “India is a hybrid of a dazzling range of influences and so is Shakespeare. I hope you can expect a Dream that is constantly alive, never predictable, always honest, told as if for the first time and performed by an ensemble that in itself offers an experience of the breadth of humanity on show in the fiction of the play”.

The cast includes Ajay Kumar (Puck and Philostrate);Yuki Ellias (Hermia); Archana Ramaswamy (Titania/ Hippolyta); P R Jijoy (Oberon/Theseus); Joy Fernandes (Bottom), Chandan Roy Sanyal (Lysander); Shanaya Rafaat (Helena) Prasanna Mahagamage (Demetrius); Ashwarthama JD (Peter Quince); D Padmakumar (Fairy); Dharminder Pawar ; (Fairy); J Jayakumar (Egeus/Fairy); M Palani (Fairy); Jitu Shastri (Snug); Ram Pawar (Boy); Tapan Das (Fairy); Umesh Jagtap (Snout); D. Prakash (Musician); Joyraj Bhattacharya (Francis Flute); Kaushik Dutta (Musician); N.Tiken Singh (Musician); T. Gopalakrishnan (Robin Starveling); and Faezeh Jalali (Fairy).

Joining Tim Supple on the creative team are: Sumant Jayakrishnan who has designed both the set and costume design; Zuleykha Chaudhari who has designed the lighting; and Devissaro whose original music is played live by three of Indian’s leading theatre musicians.

As part of the programme the company will also create tailor-made outdoor performances for select audiences, including an improvised session for over 250 school children in the grounds of Birmingham University on Tuesday 13 June.

The production runs from the 7 – 17 June 2006 in the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. RSC Ticket Hotline: 0870 609 1110.

New London Gallery -exhibits artists from South India

A new London art gallery, The Noble Sage, was launched this April with an exhibition of over 100 unseen works by seventeen artists from Chennai in Southern India.

Chennai Excite: New Work from South India is being showcased – for the first time in the UK – paintings, drawings and sculptures by 17 gifted artists, famous and emergent in the art scene, that are creating reputable names for themselves in India, Asia and abroad. They are set to become India’s brightest stars, one day making up the notable names of South Asian art history.

The exhibition is the inaugural show at The Noble Sage – the first gallery in the UK to specialise exclusively in Indian art. This exciting new space will provide a revolutionary channel for people across the UK to access high quality paintings and sculptures from the growing art markets in non-western countries, particularly South Asian art.

The exhibition, running till July 1st 2006, is the culmination of a year’s research into the exciting artistic talent occurring in the art world of Chennai, South India. For many of the artists, this exhibition marks the first ever time their work has been seen in the West.

The Noble Sage Director, Jana Manuelpillai, says: “What excites me most is that there are thousands of people in India living lives that are thoroughly different from those we lead in the UK. We take this for granted in a way and never really comprehend that difference fully. The Noble Sage will bring those lives here through the medium of art and make them part of our world. I want the gallery to be a portal by which visitors can visit distant lands and cultures, though also I want it to be a platform for talented artists who deserve a worthy UK stage.”

The exhibition’s foundations lie in the famous work of Chennai painters K.M. Adimoolam, R.B. Bhaskaran, C.J.A. Doss and A. Kudallur – all of whom are internationally recognised as some of the most important practising artists in this part of India.

Athiveerapandian:an instinctive eye for flamboyant, expressive colour and semi-figurative shape.
Siva: young & talented artist new to the Chennai scene. Highly polished, dramatic work that tell of Siva’s paranoia and his own surreal reality in regard to his creative process.

Gopinath: well-known painter famous for his striking, mysteriously welcoming abstract paintings inspired by Indian miniatures.

Jayakani: obsesses about the end of the world, repetitively painting a nameless city underwater now enjoyed by strange human-fish hybrids. This artistic engagement pre-dates the Asian Tsunami disaster. The tragedy justifying the painter’s fixation.

Nandhan: Show’s only sculptor. His abstract granite creations have an awesome power, all showing a fascination with line, form and texture – he was inspired to sculpt granite when he saw a blind man creating a sculpture.

MAYA: a feast for the senses

The songs of Bengali cultural icon Rabindranath Tagore, classical and contemporary dance, inspiring music and an uplifting love story all combine in MAYA, a dance theatre production which challenges our assumptions about mental illness.

All funds raised by the show, which will be performed at Bloomsbury Theatre on Saturday 1st July at 7pm, will be used to support CINI UK’s work to bring about sustainable improvement in the quality of life of poor women and children in India by breaking down the vicious cycle of poverty, malnutrition and ill health, providing educational services and fighting exploitation.

Maya is a young woman who finds herself swept up in a whirlwind romance with Raj, a passionate artist. But when she finds out that he has a mental illness, she finds it hard to accept, and becomes disillusioned about the relationship - prompting her friend, Anita
to ask… "who is normal?"

The musical is the brainchild of Dr Amit Biswas, by day psychiatrist, and by night writer and dance director. In this production he highlights the dangers involved in reducing people to diagnostic

The music is by leading Indian classical composer and vocalist Chiranjib Chakraborty who in this production innovatively harmonises Indian classical raga with arrangements of Tagore songs. Amit Roy of Eastern Eye was impressed by this experimentation and said "I have never before witnessed Tagore songs being used in such an imaginative way".

The dramatic action is directed by Sangeeta Datta, perhaps best known for her direction of documentary films and involvement with the direction of feature films such as Chokher Bali (2003), Raincoat (2004) and Antarmahal (2005) - currently showing at the London Film Festival.

Scriptwriter, Dr Biswas, also directs the dancing in MAYA. He is an award winning dancer and regularly gives classical and semi-classical dance performances on stage and on TV, both in India and in the UK. In this production, Kathak, Bharatnayam and contemporary dance styles are cleverly combined. It is this rich mix of forms of dance, as well as music.

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