As the Modi government is not leaving any stone unturned in commemorating the International Day of Yoga on June 21, its cultural wings are also going into overdrive to showcase the country's heritage to the world.
Spearheading the events, Sangeet Natak Akademi, a nodal agency of the culture ministry, has planned a week-long 'Yog Parv' festival during June 21-27. The festival encompasses over 300 select works of art, dance and music performances, workshops and other presentations by more than 150 artists from across India and overseas.
Elaborating on the plan, Sangeet Natak Akademi Secretary Helen Acharya said that planning Yoga Parv was not an arduous task.
"Last year, the Akademi was asked to prepare a dossier for Unesco on the intangible cultural heritage of India. We had collected a lot of material in the process. This year, when the ministry asked us to anchor a festival on yoga, it came handy for us. We only had to put together the material we had," Achrya told IANS.
Divided into three sections, the festival will unfold at three venues.
Yoga Chakra, an exhibition at the Lalit Kala Akademi, will be a multimedia art show featuring over 300 works by 150 artists from across India. The second, Yoga and Performing Arts at the Meghdoot theatre, will present dance performances, music concerts, theatre shows, lecture demonstrations, discourses and consultations with yoga experts. The third is the Organic and Wellness Stall at the Rabindra Bhawan lawns, with cafes and interactive sessions and an open platform for dialogue and consultancy.
The experts and organisations that will make presentations include Mandakini Trivedi, Masako Ono, Ranjana Gauhar and the Isha Foundation.
The Akademi has roped in other cultural bodies like Lalit Kala Akademi, Sahitya Akademi, Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts and the National Museum for the event.
"We have many antiquities selected and sourced from museums around the country as well as fresh commissions created by some contemporary artists. We are getting 50 works from National Museum and a lot of contemporary painting and sculptures from Lalit Kala Akademi. This is the first time we are putting up contemporary and ancient works together," Sushma Bahl, the curator of the event's cultural projects, told IANS.
Bahl added that they had also collaborated with many lesser known artists in the country.
"We wrote to many contemporary artists asking for work. The result was amazing. Some of them made new works, which were interactive. Our criteria was whether their works responded to the theme of yoga," Bahl added.
While prominent names like S.H. Raza, F.N. Souza, G.H. Santhosh, Anupam Sud, Tyeb Mehta, and Seema Kohli make the list in the visual arts, artists like Geeta Chandran grace the performing arts list.
Besides a star-studded artists list, audiences will be treated to many traditional and folk performances from different parts of the country.
Noted classical dancer and choreographer Sonal Mansingh, who will deliver a speech on yoga and dance in the inaugural session, said that she is honoured to be a part of the event.
"I feel happy and proud to be the part of the event. Yoga is one of the great gifts to the world. Dance includes every form of yoga. That is why Lord Shiva has been given the title Natraja by great rishis thousands of years ago," Mansingh told IANS.
(Preetha Nair can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)