Two Countries, Two Cultures, Seven Cities, One Festival.
Confluence Festival of India in Australia was officially launched on Tuesday 26 July, 2016 at the Maritime Museum in Sydney. The festival is the most significant showcase of Indian arts and culture ever to be staged in Australia, taking place in seven cities across the country between August and November 2016.
Announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Australia in November 2014, the festival takes place over twelve weeks through August – November this year, showcasing rich and diverse dance, music, theatre and visual arts from India. It also includes conferences and workshops that share insights into traditional and contemporary Indian culture and its confluence with Australia’s curious and congenial populace.
A key component of the festival is collaboration with Australian artists, such as a joint performance by the Indian spiritual music group Sonam Kalra & The Sufi Gospel Project and Australian musician Ashlee Clement along with a didgeridoo player. Renowned Indian cartoonist Ajit Ninan will discuss political humour with counterparts like David Pope and Mark Knight.
The first show kicks off on 15 August in Melbourne, which happens to coincide with the 70th Indian Independence Day celebrations. One of the festival’s key components is fostering bilateral ties, with joint performances and collaborations between Indian and Australian artists and thinkers.
“I would like to thank the Indian Government and all the artists from India who have brought this showcase of Indian culture to Australia on such a grand scale. The Australian Government is proud to support the festival and looks forward to its success over the coming months, in cities across Australia. In particular, the Government is pleased that the festival features joint performances and collaborations between Indian and Australian artists and thinkers. I hope the Festival of India will help to foster closer ties between our nations.” Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, Minister for the Arts.
“Confluence represents a meeting point – of arts and artistes, of ideas and ideals, of cultures and civilisations. Like the waters of two rivers, they meet, share and imbibe from each other. That’s the focus of our festival, of the collaborations that it strives to promote.” said Navdeep Suri, the High Commissioner of India in Australia.
Festival highlights, which include theatre performed through life-sized puppets, an Indian take on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, an exhibition on the philosophy of Gandhi – the global icon of equality, nonviolence and peace, a musician who blends rock with Indian folk and a 5000 strong Bollywood flash mob on the Opera House forecourt. Events are scheduled in Adelaide, Alice Springs, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.