Ever since 1969, Europalia has delivered a biannual arts and culture festival in Belgium, with a difference. Using world cultural wealth as its main theme, it features a different city each time. From October 2013 to February 2014, India is the chosen country and the festival will aim to showcase the very best of its historical and contemporary artistic impression. Featuring an array of visual and decorative arts, music, theatre, dance, literature and cinema, venues and institutions all over Belgium will feature Europalia’s special events. This year’s choice promises a particularly colourful and culturally rich offering.
Events will take place in 150 venues across Belgium, with pieces of art being flown in from India, as well as from collections elsewhere such as the British Museum and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, and will probably be the biggest festival on Indian art and culture ever staged. Focusing on seven themes, indicative of Indian culture and artistic expressions – the body, indomania, India tomorrow, living traditions, water, Bollywood and Beyond and the diaspora, Europalia – India will guide the public through the vast cultural wealth of India, during this festival.
Many of the venues for the events take place all over Belgium. However two main exhibitions will feature at Brussels’ Centre for Fine Arts (Bozar). The first, ‘The Body in Indian Art’ will gather together 250 modern and classical masterpieces from over fifty of India’s museums, archaeological institutes and private collections, providing an exploration of the complex and multifaceted understandings of the ‘Body’. It includes sculptures, jewellery, textiles, paintings, miniatures and ceramics dating from the third millennium BC to modern times.
The second main exhibition, ‘Indomania – From Rembrandt to the Beatles’, at Bozar, explores the encounters between India and Europe through the eyes of Western travellers from the 16th century to modern times. In contemporary times, it will also look at how India inspires today’s artists and shows new artwork from two Belgian artists, Hans Op de Beek and Max Pinckers, who travelled to Mumbai and Karnataka to gain inspiration for this show.
Europalia-India starts on 4th October 2013 and looks set to captivate audiences from all over the world for four months.