This project explores the unique relationship between London and Kolkata through a year’s artistic exchange between communities along the Thames Estuary and Hooghly River. Artistic director ALI PRETTY - working in collaboration with associate artistic director RUCHIRA DAS and an international team of contemporary and traditional artists, writers and photographers will capture and interpret the experience of journeying along these mighty rivers.
The above film by Steve Shaw captures the work of Ali Pretty and UK artists working with a team of 10 Indian artists to produce 10 large silks flags during a residential workshop.
Working in 20 locations from MURSHIDABAD to BATANAGAR (Hooghly) and KEW GARDENS to SOUTHEND (Thames) to reinterpret a shared heritage, the artists will raise cultural awareness of the Indo-British relationship by engaging diaspora communities and connecting young people with artists along the route.
Through ARTIST LED WORKSHOPS (Sept 2016-April 2017) across 20 communities, the artists will create content through drawing and oral storytelling activities inspired by common themes that capture British and Indian intangible culture.
This material will inspire 20 hand-painted Bengal silk scrolls. Ali and an international team of artists will lead TEXTILE RESIDENCIES in MURSHIDABAD (Jan 2017) and in THURROCK (July 2017) for 30 – 40 artists, craftspeople and students in each country.
In collaboration with THINK ARTS will devise ANIMATED WALKS with the 20 communities along both rivers, using the silk scrolls that are inspired by the Bengali tradition of PATACHITRA to share their stories. In SEPTEMBER – DECEMBER 2017, an international group of artists, writers and photographers will be invited to take part on foot and by boat to experience the stories of the two interconnected rivers.
An ONLINE EXCHANGE using Facebook and other social media platforms will be curated by MIKE JOHNSTON, senior lecturer in Digital Media at BATH SPA UNIVERSITY, working with independent Bengali film maker KORAK GHOSH and a team of students from SATAYJIT RAY FILM AND TELEVISION INSTITUTE, KOLKATA to enable participants and audiences to connect and share content. KEVIN RUSHBY, GUARDIAN TRAVEL WRITER will write an ONLINE JOURNAL for a dedicated SILK RIVER website, enabling an international artistic and literary community to follow and contribute digitally.
Schedule of Walks in India
5 December: Arrive in Kolkata and travel by train to Azimganj, Murshidabad
6 December: Azimganj, Barikothi & seminar on placemaking
7 December: Silk River walks begins: Azimganj to Hazarduari
8 December: International artists exchange workshop on board boat from Murshidabad to Krishnanagar
9 December: Krishnanagar visit to sculptors studios and local artists and former Indigo Estate
10 December: Boat to Chandannagar, exchange with lighting artists
11 December: Chandannagar to Barrackpore
12 December: Barrackpore
13 December: Kumortuli, Jorasanko and Marble Palace, North Kolkata
14 December: Tour of Burrabazaar and Howrah
15 December: Visit to Kidderpore docks and tour of Batanagar
16 December: Botanic Gardens, Closing Ceremony at Victoria Memorial Hall