Brisbane transforms into ‘Little India’

For one week this May 13-19, South Bank will be transformed into a bustling parade of contemporary India, bringing to life the vibrant colours, tantalizing aromas and the unmistakable movement and sounds of its music styles.

Presented by Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, the extraordinary seven day festival, ENCOUNTERS: INDIA will feature more than 70 leading artists from India and Australia across 70 events exploring the links between these two neighbours.

Vincent Plush, Artistic Director of the festival says the traditional music, street bazaars, fine art, dawn ragas, cinema, fashion, debates, dance, masterclasses and daily performances will open Brisbane’s eyes to the diversity of India.

“Like most Australians, my previous knowledge of India was limited largely to ‘the three C’s. Today, Commonwealth, curry and cricket have largely been overshadowed in our imaginations by ‘the bigger B”: Bollywood. While we have all that in our program, we want to show Brisbane that there is more to India than Bollywood.” he says.

Professor Huib Schippers, Director of the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre says the event is also ideally timed, with the recent White Paper and the Prime Minister’s visit.

“As the largest and most exciting of our ENCOUNTERS series, it comes as a vibrant, resonant contribution to cultural dialogue and diplomacy as Australia seeks to re-define its relationship with India,” he said.

Bringing togethe some of the world’s leading exponents of Indian music, both traditional and contemporary, as well as dance, philosophy, meditation and spirituality, politics and more, among many free events is a weekend-long India Bazaar, which will transform QPAC’s Cultural Forecourt into an Indian market. This culminates with a free family concert in the Courier-Mail Piazza. On Saturday 18 May, commencing at 4pm, Topology and the Australian Art Orchestra with the Sruthi Laya Ensemble will perform in Beyond Bollywood. The evening ends with Indian bands, performers and dancers, with music from leading Bollywood DJs.

Other events range from sitars playing by the river band at dawn to a recreation of a 1953 dinner given in Calcutta to honour the first (and only) visit to India of ‘the god of cricket’, Sir Donald Bradman. In that program, his grand-daughter Greta Bradman will sing a song composed by her grandfather. Other Indian musicians will be well known to classical music lovers. Among these are the soprano Patricia Rozario, who sang at Princess Diana’s funeral, and that ‘prince of cellists’ Rohan de Saram.
From India come rising stars of the younger generation, singer Shubha Mudgal and tabla virtuoso Aneesh Pradhan.

Griffith University’s Film School will mount a retrospective season celebrating a centenary of Indian film-making. Next door, the Queensland College of Art presents three exhibitions of contemporary Indian textile art. At GoMA, a two-day symposium gathers leading politicans, writers and thinkers in a cultural dialogue between our countries.

“We hope that our audiences will come away with a better understanding of this vibrant culture in our midst,” says Huib Schippers. “Through ENCOUNTERS, you can almost visit India without leaving Brisbane. Certainly no need for a passport!”

ENCOUNTERS: INDIA is also proudly supported by and the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; along with Brisbane Marketing, the Brisbane City Council and South Bank Corporation.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lauren Suto, 0418 799 544,