NGV’s Indian cultural potpuri excels

MELBOURNE, 24 June, 2023: In style and pomp the NGV Indian Community Day today was a show of the rising numbers and strength of the Indian community laced with reverberating classical music & dance, hip hop, DJ music, art, a movie and a panel discussion with spotlight on Indian creatives. The NGV PR team, encountered me with delicious Indian-type snacks -like the Calcutta Cannoli, Cauliflower leaf pakora, Indian sandwiches and burgers, made by Master Chef finalist Kishwar Chaudhry. She was there and posed for photographs. The starter classical music performance by the Jay Dabgar Group followed, as people started trickling in.

The well attended panel discussion ‘Spotlight on Indian Creatives’ consisting of Kishwar Chaudhry, Mitu Bhowmick Lange, Bushra Hasan and Anu Kumar was ably conducted by Manpreet Kaur Singh. Essentially the participants explained the episodes of Australian journey from the early years through to the ultimate integration in a new country. The cultural loneliness and the emergence of multiple identities became defining. “We had a new confidence as we integrated into Australia”, said Mitu Bhowmick Lange.

The confidence building panel discussion, I suspect, sent the message of hard work, dedication and being true to oneself. For migrants the early years are tough but as time passes things start to settle. Who could have imagined such a large and glittering Indian gathering in the centre of the city, and equally attended by mainstream Australians.

The five and half hours of weekend educative fun day also saw people visiting the permanent Indian art at the NGV. There is so much and one wonders how many in the Indian and South Asian diaspora have idea of the beautiful sculptures and other art objects. The media group was also taken around the  French painter Pierre Bonnard’s exhibition, curated by Paris-based India Mahdavi. It was a defining moment with an Indian crowd appreciating and getting photographed with the 19th century French artist’s works. It’s time the NGV get’s the exhibitions of prominent painter’s from India.

Photos – SAT/NN & IFFM.

Bollywood dances and the classical Indian dance seemed to enthral the massive crowd. The hip hop performance and the classical music added to the fun filled joy. The Great Hall was massively filled up by one pm and families feasting on Kishwar Chowdhury’s special menu with cups of coffee. An artist-led activity with Bushra Hasan and Georgia Morgan attracted many youngsters. The stage was set for the The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) at the NGV Clemenger Auditorium to a family friendly screening of ‘Dil Bole Hadippa’, Veera, a cricket-crazy Punjabi girl, wishes to enter the men’s cricket team to play in the World Cup. She disguises herself as a man but falls in love with her team’s coach, Rohan. The people seemed to enjoy the light movie.

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The  second-year running free event was well-crafted, but needs some more variety like folk dances, skits and a literary fellow introducing a book. A books exhibition by local Indian/South Asian writers is not a bad idea. The list can be endless.

 

 

By Neeraj Nanda

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