Current & Upcoming Cultural Events

On Saturday 25 November 2017, a great India related cultural event is organised in Uppsala. The programme is entitled "Från Fyris till Ganges" and is held at Slottsbiografen, Nedre Slottsgatan 6 from 14.00 till 21.00. it is supported by the Indian Embassy, Uppsala Kommun and Sensus. Follow the journey of the senses between Fyris and Ganges and get a glimpse of the nuances of the diverse Indian culture - in the middle of Uppsala!

Concert & Dance 14.00-17.00. (Konferencier: Maria Af Malmborg Linnman)

*Tagore melody: Axel Landahl (guitar), Johan Gråsjö (Tuba), Jonas Landahl (accordion), Leo Edberg (percussion) and Stian Grimstad (North Indian classical sitar)
*Speech by Indian ambassador Honourable Ms. Monika Kapil Mohta
*Tabladuo: Atharva Pandit and Shamik Sinha
*Jugalbandi: Arun Venkitaraman (South Indian classical violin), Stian Grimstad (North Indian classical sitar) and Suranjana Ghosh (Tabla)
* Indian classical Odissidance with Stina Bothén
* Pause (fika and snacks)
*World music group Teental: Bengt Jonasson (Bass), Jonas Landahl (Drums), Kalle L Mossige-Norheim (Keyboard/Harmonium), Magnus Kjellstrand (Saxophone), Soumen Roy Choudhry (Sarod) and Suranjana Ghosh (Tabla)

Pause 17.00-18:30

Film 18.30-21.00.
*”The inner circle” - winning short film by Biplab Sanyal
*“Taare Zameen Par” (2007) directed by Aamir Khan and Amole Gupte (Hindi, subtitles in english)
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Entrance fees: Concert: 100 kr (stud 80 kr). Film: 50 kr (stud 40 kr). Music + film: 130 kr (stud 100 kr)
Fika & indian snacks served in Pause.   Artist and group presentations....

Baul Shilpi, a group of baul singers from Bangladesh who made a great success during their Sweden tour in 2003 and 2008, again visits Sweden in the end of November 2017. The group, calling themselves ”God’s scapegraces” (Guds vildhjärnor), consists of seven persons – four baul singers, two other musicians, plus the tour leader Sirajul Islam. They are as usual invited to Sweden by Dr. Christina Nygren, Dept. of Musicology and Theatre Studies, Stockholm University. On Sunday 12 November 2017, at 17.00, they will perform at Brokiga Bengalen Butik, Södermannagatan 50, Stockholm. More information about Baul Shilpi (in Swedish only).

Rani Nair along with Astad Deboo.

On 20 October 2017, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee (Konstnärsnämnden), a Swedish government agency supporting artists who work within the areas of visual art, design, music, dance, theatre and film, decided to award Rani Nair, talented Swedish dancer of Indian origin living in Lund, Sweden, SEK 1 m as a long-time (10 years) grant. Rani was one out of 144 professional artists awarded this type of grant, artists that have showcased artistic activities of high quality and have contributed to the development in their respective area of art. More information about the Arts Grants Committeee awards.
In recent years, Rani Nair has made a number of interesting dance projects together with renowned Indian dance maestro Astad Deboo, both in Sweden and India. It has included re-enacting Astad Deboo’s solo unrecorded works from the 1970s and 80s. They met in 2014, when Rani was introduced to him by the then Indian ambassador to Sweden. Read more in an article in Deccan Chronicle (April 2017).
Rani Nair first came into contact with Indian dance as a young child in the 1980s attending dance classes organised by Danish Bharata Natyam dancer Annemette Karpen and Bubu Munshi Eklund in Lund. It should also be mentioned that Rani is the daughter of well-known Lund University Professor Baboo Nair.

The Swedish-language journal SYDASIEN, founded in 1977 but since 2011 only available on the Net, now reappears as a print magazine on a trial basis - two magazines per year are planned and they will cover articles previously posted on the Net. The effort has been possible to realize through a collaboration with the Swedish South Asian Studies Network at Lund University (SASNET) and its director Andreas Johansson.
For 34 years - 1977-2010 - SYDASIEN played an important role to disseminate news and information on South Asia. With popularly written articles on politics, history, literature and culture in the eight countries that consist South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) SYDASIEN was a unique feature in Scandinavia.
The magazine was launched in 1977 by a group of journalists, researchers and development assistance employees, among many others were Staffan Lindberg in Lund, Thomas Bibin in Gothenburg and Kalle Kjellman in Stockholm. Lars Eklund, now working with the Nordic South Asia Network (NSAN), was the editor in chief for 25 years, during the period 1982–2007. From 2008 till the closure in 2010, the magazine was then edited by John Senewiratne in Norrköping. However, in 2011 SYDASIEN resurfaced in a brand new shape, as a high-quality Internet based web magazine. It was launched by the current editor of the magazine,  Johanna Sommansson, holding an MA in Social Anthropology and a BA in Indology from Stockholm University. She is also the editor in chief for the new print edition. Go for the Sydasien.se.
A searchable catalogue with links to full-text scanned magazines from the entire SYDASIEN production from  1977 till 2007 has been published by Lars Eklund. It includes the full content of 31 years of publication, available as pdf-files. Go for the index.

The International Tagore Choir in Lund will perform with a programme on Indian/Bengali Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore in the village church of Maglehem in eastern part of Skåne on Saturday 4 November 2017, at 19.00. The concert is organised by Maglehems kulturförening and the Degeberga-Everöds församling, and coincides with a major ”Hela Österlen lyser” event on the All Saints Day. As ususal, the choir is led by Bubu Munshi Eklund, and with your NSAN editor being a member of the choir. Jazz saxophonist Ed Epstein will be a guest artist in this concert. More information.
On 22 October, the choir also performed in Malmö in connection with a Kali puja event held there (see photo).

The 2017 South Asia Film Festival (FFAST) will be held 3-10 October at the Etoile Lilas theatre in Paris, France. This is a unique occasion to get a glimpse of current alternative and popular cinema made in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh. ​At its first edition in February 2013, the FFAST set out to present the parallel, independent and innovative cinema produced in South Asia, a region of the world that is still too often confined to clichés kitchs and sweetened Bollywood productions. More than four years later, for its fifth edition, the Festival returns with an extended team, year-round events, and always the same mission. Four selections will be presented during the 2017 festival week, including a selection devoted to Tamil cinema, a cinemasala bracket that will focus on the different representations of food in the South Asian cinema (with a selection of contemporary and patrimonial films), and a selection of short films made by young filmmakers. Throughout the week, more than twenty films from Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will be presented. Full information (in French only) at the FFAST webpage.
(Photo from Lipstick under my burkha by director Alankrita Shrivastava.)

In connection with the 2017 Photo Festival in Landskrona, Sweden, French photographer Olivier Culmann’s Indian photo series is exhibited at Landskrona konsthall 8-17 September. More information.
Over 20 years of travelling to and living in India, Culmann has spotted certain looks in the streets time and time again – bureaucrats in sweater vests, throwback 70s stylings. Then he began reproducing their appearances – on himself. He calls the endeavour a “cultural inversion”.
Culmann has chosen to produce a photo series about ordinary life in India – called The Others – without snapping a single local. He bought or borrowed similar clothing to the men he impersonated, dyed his hair black, grew it out for some shots, shaved it off for others, grew a moustache. The only changes he made in post-production were the colour of his skin and eyes, for the sake of realism.
His images are not made to be controversial: they are not social critique, but a commentary on the power of illusions. He decided on his own one-man casting simply for ease: “I’m always available, always there when I need me,” he jokes. Though he insists that “the idea isn’t to make a joke or make fun… you can show humour and tenderness in tandem”.
The work itself happened in several stages, inspired by photographic customs common to Indian portraiture. First, Culmann visited the neighbourhood studios that still dot every other street and are widely used for identity photos, or for middle-class portraits – family photos, wedding shots, momentous occasions. Culmann shot the studio backdrops when they were empty, then took portraits of himself separately, testing up to 100 poses per character. The characters were then Photoshopped against the backdrops.
Culmann then decided to push the project even further. Some studios also rework torn or faded old images of dead family members – not to their original state, but into enhanced versions (magicked into colour, given dramatic backgrounds). So Culmann purposefully ripped up his original black-and-white portraits and sent the morsels to assorted studios to do their thing. “Some of them are not very good: some go as far as cartoon,” he says, pointing to the resulting wonky eyes and added chest-hair. The final stage of The Others was to ask a local artist to paint the photographs. Read more in a December 2015 article from The Guardian.

Arundhati Roy and Shamsuzzaman Khan.

Whereas many well-known Swedish writers and publishers have decided not to partiocipate in the 2017 Göteborg Bok Fair (Bok och Biblioteksmässan) due to the organisers having accepted an extremist right-wing newspaper having a stall at the fair (more information), South Asia will be represented by Indian writer Arundhati Roy, and four prominent Bangladeshi litterary stalwarts, namely Shamsuzzaman Khan (Bangla Academy Director); Muhammad Samad (National Poetry Council of Bangladesh President); Tarik Sujat (poet, publisher and graphic artist); and Anisur Rahman.
Seminars with them will be held on Thursday 28 September, one with Arundhati Roy entitled ”Returning to Literary Fiction”, about her recent book, ”The Ministry of Utmost Happiness”, a novel just like her 1997 novel ”The God of Small Things”. After that, she left literary fiction behind and made a name for herself as an activist and social commentator. In a number of books and articles, Arundhati Roy has fought for womens's rights and against dam projects and environmental degradation, among other things. But now exactly twenty years later a new novel suddenly emerges. Why did she choose to return to literature?  John Freeman, American author will be the moderator.
The Swedish translation of the new book will be released in connection with the book fair. It is published by Brombergs förlag and is entitled ”Den Yttersta Lyckans Ministerium”. 
The Bangladeshi literary quartet will take part in a seminar entitled ”What is Happening in Contemporary Literature in Bangladesh?”. It will be a kind of follow-up to events at the 2013 Book Fair with five Bangladeshi writers (more information). They will promote modern Bangladeshi literature, a hundred years after Rabindranath Tagore, the main architect of modern Bengali literature, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913. The seminar - organised by Litteraturcentrum Uppsala, Bangla Academy, and the National Poetry Council of Bangladesh - will be held as a dialogue with Swedish writer Lars Häger.
Go for the full programme of 2017 Göteborg Book Fair.

Yours truly NSAN editor Lars Eklund travelled a lot in Europe, Asia and the Middle East during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, always writing extensive travel reports. Lars is currently posting these reports (in Swedish language) on the Internet, and is followed by a group on Facebook. Along with the letters and other documents, the reports are illustrated by his own photos from the journeys he made first as an overland traveller to India and beyond in the 1970s, as a journalist travelling in the 1980s and later as a Kolkata family member and university employee. The reports cover a lot of different destinations, the variation covers all the way from the Faeroe Islands, Mongolia, Syria, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Indonesia, UK, China to DDR, Nepal and Afghanistan (photo from Maimana in northern Afghanistan 1975). If interested to subscribe for the travel reports, contact Lars Eklund directly. Go for a list of travel reports available.

On 14th and 15th August 2017, it was 70 years since the Partition of British India, and the independent nations of Pakistan and India appeared on the scene. In Stockholm, Sweden, the 2017 jubilee celebrations coincided with the Stockholm Cultural Festival that was held 15-20 August. The festival included a large number of events related to Indian culture - concerts, dance performances, seminars, Bollywood film screening, street food stalls, yoga sessions, etc.
Among the highlights should be mentioned a concert with Tabla maestro Zakir Hussain (photo to the left) on the 16th, a seminar on ”Diversity and tolerance - Experiences from India” on the 17th, another seminar on ”In the scenes behind the Jaipur Literature Festival” on the 16th, and a Bollywood musical ”Love Story” (photo above) on the 15th and 16th. See the full Stockholm Cultural Festival programme, and search for genre ”India” to get specific info about the India related events.
As an integral part of the festival, the Embassy of India organised a parade with dancing children through the streets of Stockhom, led by the Ambassador, on August 15th; and a Business day with an impressing full-day programme on the 17th of August looking at the future of India (this will also act as a curtain raiser for the Mega Make in India Event that is to take place from the 11-13 October 2017), more information.

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