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Europalia International

Europalia is a major international arts festival held every two years to celebrate one invited country’s cultural heritage. Since 1969, Europalia has organised some twenty-two festivals. Each has turned the spotlight on one culture in a comprehensive programme of music, fine arts, photography, cinema, theatre, dance, literature, architecture, design, fashion, gastronomy...

europalia.india, an artistic explosion

For its 24th biennial, Europalia International brought India to the heart of Europe. During 4 months we have been able to discover this mysterious and fascinating country, where different cultures meet, interact and bring about a unique creativity.
europalia.india translated India’s immense cultural wealth into a multidisciplinary programme comprising exhibitions, concerts, dance and theatre performances, conferences, cinema and literature events.

Under the High Patronage of the President of the Indian Republic Pranab Mukherjee and His Majesty the King of the Belgians. 

509 events: 30 exhibitions, 97 concerts, 32 dance performances, 24 theatrical performances, 136 film screenings, 29 literary events and 161 lectures, workshops and events in libraries and universities.  The festival attracted 837,000 visitors

The 30 exhibitions organised all around Belgium which covered wide-ranging themes - ranging from the sari to architecture, but also Bollywood, design, Sanskrit, the Ramayana, extraordinary pictures of India in the nineteenth century... - were the opportunity to showcase the treasures of ancient India but also new fascinating works of art by young artists especially created for the festival. The two flagship projects were as usual hosted by the Centre for Fine Arts. 'The Body in Indian Art' offered, through the Indian perception of the body, a unique insight into Indian culture and traditions over the centuries. 'Indomania, from Rembrandt to the Beatles', on the other hand, depicted the Western standpoint on India from Vasco de Gama up until today. In Liege, a contemporary art walk including photography, videos, installations explored the theme of water.  

Performing arts revealed India's diversity through a spellbinding selection of ritual, sacred, folk and contemporary dances, as well as Indian puppet theatre. They were represented by artists such as ‘Leela Samson’,  ‘Kapila Venu’, ‘Alarmel Valli’, ‘Revanta Sarabhai’, ‘Attakkalari’ to name but a few. 

The musical programme also presented a fine overview raging from sacred, Carnatic, Hindustani music but also world music, fusion, experimental and electronic music.  Some of the artists featured include ‘Adivasi Sidi Dhamal Goma Party’, ‘Meeta Pandit’, ‘Chassol’, ‘ Madhup Mudgal’, DJ’s’Andy Votel’, … and there were many concerts in which Indian masters and Belgian or international artists collaborated: Zakir Hussain and John Mc Laughlin with the project ‘Remember Shakti’; Chitraveena Ravikiran and Roland Van Campenhout, Ionah trio, who collaborated with the dancer Yentl De Werdt and Tuur Florizoone who played with Trilok Gurtu, ...

Indian cinema obviously took pride of place in the festival too as it was celebrating its centenary in 2013. Retrospectives, thematic events, Belgian premieres, a mini-festival, Flageywood, which brought together several disciplines around cinema, among which an exhibition of the photographer, Max Pinckers, concerts, workshops and a meeting with the director Anurag Kashyap who came to present his latest film 'Ugly'. 

In the literary programme, europalia.india hosted several Indian authors through conferences, publications and readings as well as residences. The festival welcomed several acclaimed authors such as Abha Dawesar, Jeet Thayil, Vikas Swarup and Manu Joseph.

The festival was not confined to theatres and museums: many institutes and partners, among which universities, organised conferences and workshops on wide-ranging themes which allowed the spectators to have a more personal approach to several aspects of Indian culture. Libraries spread the passion for Indian arts throughout Belgium by organising lectures, workshops, conferences,...