Australians being treated to Indian flavours

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New Delhi, Sep 1 (IANS) Exhibitions, dance performances, music, theatre, workshops and yoga — people Down Under are being treated to these Indian treats in an ongoing Indian festival.

Organised by India’s Ministry of Culture and the Indian Council of Cultural relations (ICCR) in association with the Australian government’s Department of Communication and the Arts, “Confluence – Festival of India in Australia” is fruition of an announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Australia in November 2014, and is running through 12 weeks from August to November.

Put together by Teamwork Arts, an entertainment company in the performing arts space, the festival is being hosted in seven Australian cities — Adelaide, Alice Springs, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

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Hosting a reception here in this connection on Wednesday evening, Australian High Commissioner to India Harinder Sidhu, who is of Indian origin, said that “Confluence” has put India-Australia relations right at the “front and centre”.

“Culture is the way to build understanding between people,” she said.

“The festival will showcase a wide range of Indian tradition and culture.”

Sidhu said the festival follows the Australian government’s “Oz Fest”, major cultural festival that ran in India from October 2012 to February 2013.

Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh, who was also present, said many events have been planned like classical dances, puppetry and Sufi music.

“We are grateful to the Australian government for their partnership,” he said.

ICCR Director C. Rajasekhar said: “The festival will have a lasting effect and get into the mindset of the Australian people.”

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According to a festival statement, “Confluence” will showcase over 25 different productions, shows, exhibitions and seminars in 65 individual events including the “Colours of India” rooftop projection at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, life-sized puppet procession at the MPavilion in Melbourne and the Festival Gala at the Sydney Opera House.

A key component of the festival is collaboration between Indian and Australian artists and thinkers such as a joint performance by the Indian spiritual music group Sonam Kalra & The Sufi Gospel Project and Australian musician Ashlee Clement along with didgeridoo player Si Mullumby.

Renowned Indian cartoonist Ajit Ninan will discuss political humour with counterparts like David Pope, Mark Knight and Cathy Wilcox.



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