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A celebration and exploration of culture as Europalia.India opens in Belgium

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A celebration and exploration of culture as Europalia.India opens in Belgium

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“Charisu” – it means “the desire to move” and is a performance choreographed by Leela Samson, one of India’s dance officionados. Charisu is an example of India’s vibrant traditions and is one of main attractions at the opening of Europalia.India.

The four-month festival will showcase 450 events across Belgium, focusing on seven cultural and artistic themes – including the body, living traditions, water and Bollywood.

“The exhibition “The Body in Indian Art” is a rare opportunity to see some objects that have never left India, including jewelery, art pieces and archaeological remains,” said euronews reporter Isabel Marques da Silva.

Eight galleries juxtapose pieces from tiny, provincial museums and royal collections. The curator Naman Ahuja is showing the shared values of India’s Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims and Christians.

“It is about contrasting how different people and communities approach death, birth, astrology… you know, the basic rites of passage, that would affect anyone, each person’s life and what are the different approaches to those concepts,” Ahuja explained.

A Europalia festival is also about the way the guest country presents itself now and this is done through conferences and literary discussions.

In India’s case, Bollywood is one of the best examples of combining local and traditional values with modern expression and techniques.

“In the field of cinema we had the lucky fact that it is (the celebration of) 100 years of indian cinema in 2013. So, they are a lot of things available in the field of cinema. We have a lot of different film directors (in the programme), like Anurag Kashyap, that presented his film “Ugly” at Cannes, but also a lot of others,” said General Director of Europalia.India Kristine De Mulder.

Masters of traditional and sacred music, the Gundecha Brothers, opened the festival at the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels.

Belgian and international musicians, including DJs, will combine their creations with the sounds of India.

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