Delhi International Arts Festivalby Opinion Express December 3, 2018 0 comments
Director Pratibha Prahlad tells this writer about the congregation at the 12th edition of the Delhi International Arts Festival.
King Lear mouthing soliloquies and enacting them through Kathakali while being French in origin. Fiona Gardner, an Australian, will become the goddess Kali in a thematic experimental dance. None of them knows India deeply. Yet they will attempt to reinterpret our stories. The 12th edition of the Delhi International Arts Festival, (DIAF) is ready to unfold many such surprises for its audience. Festival director Pratibha Prahlad, who is also a Bharatanatyam dancer, believes that this is perfectly in keeping with the philosophy that “art sensitises, harmonises and unifies countries.”
She explains that the main aim of the festival is to re-instill pride in the country’s rich cultural heritage and diverse aesthetic practices, while simultaneously inviting artistes from across the globe.
From the most traditional to the most contemporary expressions of art forms, DIAF offers all, while maintaining the uniqueness and diversity of India’s artistic and cultural traditions.
It seems to be a mammoth task to bring so many artists under one platform. When you ask Pratibha, she explains, “DIAF is India’s biggest and largest cultural equity. We brand India as a cultural leader and a meeting place of ideas. Indian art and artists have a curiosity factor and they are always ready to perform. But yes, it’s difficult to get artists from all over the world. I have been a well-known dancer for 50 years and my personal credibility and equity helped me to get other artistes on board.”
Pratibha wanted to spread the flavour of different art forms across geographical boundaries. She spoke to various art organisations, foreign embassies, encouraging them to put up their own shows individually yet under a single umbrella. The initial resistance was finally followed by the success of DIAF.
The festival of arts creates a positive and vibrant image of India among international professionals working in India, tourists and others.
Pratibha explains that there’s a diaspora section where a lot of artists will perform under the theme ‘Indian Art: International Performers.’ She says, “They are Indians living abroad or foreigners who practise our art forms.”
She feels that such festivals creates an excitement among all and enables a confluence of ideas in a melting pot. They provide an aspirational platform to those who want to showcase their talent. Festivals like DIAF, she says, can take a risk that ordinarily small organisations cannot, by presenting disparate forms of art. 2018 is also the last time that Prahlad will be organising the event on sole capacity.
Writer: Ayushi Sharma
Courtesy: The Pioneer