A group of contemporary artists, historians, writers and musicians from the UK and India would undertake a 11-day long journey down the river Hooghly from Murshidabad district to Kolkata from December 6, as part of the ambitious Silk River project which explores the unique relationship between London and Kolkata, according to the organisers.
The journey – on boat and by foot – will begin from Azimganj in Murshidabad, and culminate at Batanagar, close to Kolkata on December 16, with the participants slated to engage with contemporary artists, historians, writers and musicians.
There would also be curated events comprising talks, workshops and film screenings during the entire trip, brought together by Kinetika, UK and its various Indian partners including ThinkArts, Murshidabad Heritage Development Society, Crafts Council of India West Bengal and West Bengal Tourism. It is supported by Arts Council England and British Council.
Silk River India Walk is the second stage of the project. In phase one, the Silk River UK Walks were organised along the Thames from September 15-24.
Working in 20 locations alongside the Hooghly and the Thames to reinterpret a shared heritage, Silk River aims to raise cultural awareness about the Indo-British relationship through engaging diaspora communities.
The stories of the 20 locations will be revealed to local, national and international audiences through the showing of 20 giant hand-painted Bengali silk scrolls and accompanying performances.
The Silk River India Walk will begin on Monday at Azimganj. The next two days will see an international community gathering together to discover and explore the rich heritage of the region through walks, seminars and cultural programmes, Kinetika’s artistic director Ali Pretty told the media on Friday.
There will be an opportunity for artistic exchange from December 8-10, with invited Indian artists collaborating with their 15 counterparts from the UK, as they travel from Krishnanagar to Chandannagar.
The tour will end on December 16, with a closing event in association with the Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata, where the scrolls will be exhibited and a fair held.
There will be an exhibition of the 20 scrolls in the Central Hall of Victoria Memorial Hall here from December 19.
“By sharing and celebrating the similar histories and narratives between the River Thames and India’s Hooghly River, the project encourages the celebration of rich local history, and engages communities to take part in re-imagining the river,” Pretty said.
Silk River India Walk Director Korak Ghosh called the entire project a “tale of two cities”.
“London, among other festivities has a month-long celebration with Totally Thames. My involvement with this unique event gives me an opportunity to remember our Hooghly. We are sure that this will go a long way in making people conscious of the river, its importance and its heritage,” he said.
Debanjan Chakrabarti, Director, British Council East and Northeast India said: “The project connects, inspires and celebrates the two countries in a unique way and I am certain the India Walks will be remembered as a milestone in the city’s cultural calendar.”