Purvai 2018, An Lanntair’s Festival of South Asian Art, Launches Stunning Programme Celebrating Outer Hebridean Connections with South Asia.

  • Published on: 7th August 2018
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Purvai 2018 gets underway this August with a whole host of internationally acclaimed artists, including Deepa Nair Rasiya, Gupreet Singh Notta, Kaviraj Singh Dhadyalla and Dalbir Singh Rattan and Kathak dancer, Kanchan Maradan. The festival brings South Asian dance, music, writing, textiles and food to the Outer Hebrides in an eclectic arts festival, celebrating Scotland’s diversity of connections with India.

Leading on from last year’s widely acclaimed festival and the world-first HLF-sponsored exhibition of the Colin Mackenzie Collection in Stornoway, and ‘Yatra’ and ‘New Passages’ tour of India as part of British Council’s UK India 2017 Year of Cultural Programmes, Purvai 2018 promises a spectacular programme.

The headline event will be a ‘Summer Evening of Indian Raag’ on Friday 17th August, featuring one of the most highly acclaimed female Indian vocalists in the UK today, Deepa Nair Rasiya.

This year a new initiative for the festival, the Purvai Summer School – Yatra Òigridh – will be a chance for children aged 8 to 13 years to experience a vast range of art forms, kathak dance, singing, drumming, puppet making and more. All leading to a multimedia performance on Saturday 18th August, where children will take inspiration from the Yatra performance of last year’s festival, and tell the story through dance, music and puppetry, of the world-famous collector extraordinaire, Colin Mackenzie, who was born in Stornoway in 1754 and lived and travelled in India for most of his life, amassing the largest ever collection of Indian art and artefacts.

The exhibitions programme will include ‘Cry Calcutta’ by notable photographer, Thomas Patrick Kiernan, and ‘Document’ by Fòcas, which brings together three Scottish artists with three Indian artists in a stunning new collaborative photography show.

Purvai 2018 will also bring a new literary event ‘New Passages’ to An Lanntair on 21st August, presented in partnership with Edinburgh International Book Festival and the British Council. This exciting event will celebrate and present new writing from collaborations between Scottish writers, Nalini Paul and Abir Mukherjee, and Indian writers, Sandip Roy and Sampurna Chattarji.

Alongside all this, the festival will offer a vast array of new opportunities for local people and visitors to take part and get involved, with workshops on Indian drumming, yoga, Indian folk and Kathak dance, even Indian kite and puppet making.

Deepa Nair Rasiya, Indian Classical Vocalist and Headline Act for Purvai 2018, said:

“….This will be my first ever visit to Stornoway and I am thrilled at the prospect of performing vocal Indian Music at this year’s Purvai Festival. I can already sense the magic and enchantment of the whole event and look forward to it with much anticipation. Hoping to see all the islanders there and lots of visitors too. Please do come!! Thank you all! ….”

Dalbir Singh Rattan – Indian classical Tabla player, Yatra composer and longstanding collaborator with Purvai, said:

‘Absolutely delighted to be returning to Stornoway to work with the community and An Lanntair Arts centre on the Purvai Festival. This year we have a host of new musicians joining us introducing new instruments from the Indian Classical genre to the audiences to the Island – very much looking forward to the shows and performing in Stornoway again.’

Catherine Maclean – Purvai curator, An Lanntair, said:

Purvai Festival is now in its 4th year and has artistically grown and developed over the years. Last year was a very significant year in that we mounted the first ever Mackenzie Exhibition in Stornoway with a wonderful selection of material from the V&A, British Library and the British Museum, we also began two new creative projects the specially commissioned musical score – ‘Yatra; Journey’ by Dalbir Singh Rattan and ‘New Passages’ in partnerships with Edinburgh International Book Festival, a Literature exchange between Scottish and Indian writers – both of these newly commissioned creative works are inspired by and in response to the Mackenzie Collection and were selected by British Council Scotland to tour India as part of the UK India 2017 cultural programmes. Now as the Purvai Festival moves forward these new works and commissions are really what it is all about – opportunities for artists to create and develop new works, collaborating across disciplines, cultures and genre to create ground breaking new works that are relevant and representative of now. Our audiences are sharing in that journey and have the opportunity to experience and participate in a range of activities from drumming and yoga workshops to textiles, visual arts exhibitions, literature events and spellbinding evenings of the finest of Indian Classical Music.

Major funder for Purvai 2018, Heritage Lottery Fund said:

“Collector Extraordinaire: Mackenzie Collection Exhibition and Festival of Scotland’s South Asian Heritage and Culture is a great project as it shows clearly how heritage can be a catalyst for lots of different activities and bring people together behind a common purpose. HLF is pleased to support An Lanntair in its planned activities to celebrate the shared heritage of South Asia and the Hebrides and, thanks to National Lottery players, enable people to enjoy this shared history on their own doorstep.”

Norah Campbell, Head of Arts at British Council Scotland said:

“Purvai is a wonderful example of cultural exchange between Scotland and India in action, and we are delighted to have supported the programme. Its continued success is one of the great legacies of the Scottish arts sector’s involvement in the UK India Season in 2017, and we would encourage everyone to visit An Lanntair and experience Purvai 2018.”

Casi Dylan, Projects Manager at Edinburgh International Book Festival commented:

“It’s exciting to welcome our four New Passages authors back to Edinburgh and the Isle of Lewis this August to present new writing inspired by this year-long exchange project, marking 70 years of Indian Independence. This special partnership between the Edinburgh International Book Festival, An Lanntair and Apeejay Kolkata Literature Festival has created an opportunity for these Indian and Scottish writers to work together. It has created a series of conversations that have travelled from festival to festival, interrogating individual assumptions and refreshing our understanding of our cultural landscapes. This relationship between local and international identity runs through all of the Book Festival’s work, both in the August festival and our work On The Road.”