See how weapons can be turned into a symbol of peace, and how a father’s grave can inspire an artiste’s best work. The festival that promises to turn Delhi into an arts hub for the world is back.
The fifth edition of the Delhi International Arts Festival 2011 (DIAF) opened in the Capital on Monday, and over two weeks, will feature more than 2,000 artistes from 18 countries, bringing an enormous variety and diversity to the platform. Conceptualized and directed by Bharatanatyam danseuse Prathibha Prahlad and her Prasiddha Foundation, the festival opened with a musical tribute to Rabindranath Tagore at the Purana Qila, an interesting coming together of troupes from Santiniketan in Kolkata, Hungary, Mexico, Spain, Bangladesh and South Africa. On 1 November, there was a performance by Colombian musician and peace activist César López on the Escopetarra, a guitar fashioned out of a decommissioned AK-47 rifle (escopetarra being a combination of the Spanish words escopeta, meaning shotgun, and guitarra, meaning guitar). It has been transformed into a symbol of non-violence and a way of promoting disarmament.
At least 2,000 artistes from 18 countries, including France, Italy and Spain, will perform at the Delhi International Arts Festival 2011
Other performances at the DIAF 2011 include a Flamenco performance by Juan Manuel Fernandez Montoya “Farruquito” from Spain (9 November), a Korean traditional dance performance by Son Kyung-soon and group (10 November), and an Italian opera based on a theme similar to Cinderella (15 November).
DIAF 2011 will showcase events at a host of venues ranging from Purana Qila, the Bahai’ House of Worship, American Center and Kamani Auditorium to the India Habitat Centre.
Using culture as a tool for championing the cause of peace and non-violence is the basic thrust of the festival, says Prahlad. “Art/culture is the most important aspect of human life. In times of hardship, it is this association with the arts, this creative urge that reaffirms faith in individual ability and facilitates international peace and harmony.” The line-up at the festival ensures a variety of events, with artistes from Spain, Italy, France, Korea, Hungary, and Argentina, among other countries.
One of the biggest big-ticket events at the festival is the DanSe Dialogues series of contemporary French dance. Among them is French dancer Brahim Bouchelaghem (6 November), who brings his globetrotting performance Zahrbat, which he conceived of after he visited his father’s grave on a tour of Algeria. It marries his hip hop training to the celebratory sound of Arab-Andalusian music. “There is also Transports Exceptionnels (8 November), by Dominique Boivin, in which he portrays machines and sets it to opera music by Maria Callas,” says Prahlad. The movements are minimal and contemporary, and the performance varies a little in every country because the dancer works with a new local artist, every time.
The Delhi International Arts Festival 2011 is on till 15 November. For details, visit www.diaf.in