Tagore Comes Alive in Victoria
April 9, 2013 – By Damien Forster
A unique confluence of art and culture is unveiled at the Victorian College of the Arts.
On Saturday, 23rd March 2013 a bold new experiment in cross-cultural arts was unveiled at the Victorian College of the Arts in the esteemed Southbank arts precinct of Melbourne.
“Tagore’s Vision – The Poetry of India” was the brainchild of Artistic Director Tara Rajkumar OAM.
The production skilfully combined a diverse blend of artistic and cultural elements including Australian poetry, classical Indian dance, contemporary movement, original music and the famous poetry of India’s Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
The evening involved a national league of collaborating artists including poet Kelvin Brown (Adelaide), costume designer Vernon Curtis (Melbourne), researcher Hamsa Venkat (Sydney), members of Tara Rajkumar’s own Natya Sudha Dance Company along with Govind Pillai of Karma Dance Inc.
Hosted jointly by the Australia-India Institute (AII) and the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), the production demonstrated what is possible when artists, educational institutions and cross-cultural bodies join forces to propel original artistic work in Australia.
The exclusively invited audience was left with an impression of the haute creativity that can be born from collaborations of this calibre.
In their opening addresses, both the distinguished hosts Professor Amitabh Mattoo, Director of the AII; and Professor Barry Conyngham, Dean, Faculty of the VCA and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music of the University of Melbourne, made specific reference to the importance of this event as a symbol of the partnership between the AII and the VCA.
Both institutions affirmed their aims to promote cultural exchange between Australia and India through artistic partnership. They also released three volumes of Collector of Words, poems by Australian poet, Kelvin Brown.
The evening opened with the traditional lighting of the lamp, performed as a ritual set to original music and English poetry where distinguished guests and all performing artists came together to inaugurate the event.
Subsequently, two original contemporary dance works were presented, showcasing the versatility of poet Kelvin Brown and senior dancers Raina Peterson, Nithya Gopu, Rasika Mohan and Govind Pillai.
The centrepiece of the evening, Tagore’s famous play “Chandalika” was a well-woven tapestry of emotional and social commentary. This segment skilfully conveyed the plight of a young untouchable woman and the surrounding community in rural India.
Notable solo performances were delivered by Deepa Nayar, Vernon Curtis, and Sruthi Sridhar.
In concluding the evening, an innovative tribute to mother India was delivered through a striking combination of the two classical Indian styles of Mohiniyattam and Bharatanatyam.
The talk of anger
speaks no logic.
Words fly forward
but do not return.
What they destroy
cannot be replaced.
The universe is
like a garden.
Plant each word
and watch it grow.
Soon you will know
the strong words of
© K. S. Brown
The first poem WORDS was set to music with narration and dance in 1998 by Umesh and Jayashree Moghe.
They are both admirers of my poetry and took it upon themselves to create and demonstrate their version of WORDS in the lounge room.
Heather, Karen and I were astonished at this level of poetry performance.
Poetry Of India
India, you are poetry.
You are the house of poetry.
You hold the first poem.
You were the first poem.
India, you speak in poetry.
Even musicians and dancers play to you.
Beyond your land, your skies,
is the poem you have
with the cosmos that connects us all.
Always being written, understood and
a link between us, the cosmos and creation itself.
India, you are timeless.
© K. S. Brown
More was to follow. I wanted to release the three volumes of COLLECTOR OF WORDS in Australia, Melbourne and asked for the assistance of the esteemed dancer and dance teacher Tara Rajkumar OAM to set my poems to dance performance with Jitendra Kulkani in Pune, Maharashtra, and myself composing the music.
This was performed in Melbourne March 23rd, 2013. Presented here is the final poem POETRY OF INDIA.