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Standing together for art and artistes

Come on board for ArtAlone Together 2, an online mixed art festival, this Sunday with some amazing artistes across the country

Kolkata, Aug. 21: Art endures through the toughest of times, and so does the artiste.

So, this Sunday, get set for an online date with art, for its time to take a break from those back breaking work from home schedules and chores.

Artsforward and Smoke Inc. in collaboration with Offbeat CCU and in association with Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WICCI) , have given us eight reasons to clear our schedules this Sunday, for ArtAlone Together 2, an online mixed art festival, happening this Sunday on Facebook and Zoom.

“At a time when all artists are trying to navigate some tough times, the endeavour is to be connected through art and by supporting artists who are keeping us entertained and happy. Alone and yet together in art!” said Nishit Arora, of Smoke Inc.

Smoke Inc is a multi-faceted company that provides creative solutions to artists, venues, businesses and brands, with the aim of building a culture that fosters and supports artists and creative individuals. 

Connected over Art

Keeping us connected to art and artists, the festival kicks off at 10am.

Artists, organisations and collectives from across the country and beyond will get together on Sunday, from 10am till 11pm.

It will showcase multiple art forms, including spoken word, music, dance and theatre, magic through performances, conversations and showcases all on one platform.

The idea of ArtAloneTogether came about on March 16 after Paramita Saha, the co-director, Artsforward, stayed home the whole day listening to pandemic news and hushed rumours about an imminent lockdown.

“I thought art was a good way to stay connected in some way in these unsettling and uncertain times,” she said.

The first edition of ArtAlone Together in June had been a massive success reaching out to audiences and artists across India with a closing act from Lahore.

Art and artistes at Edition 2

  • Kiran Kumar, Bangalore presents Archipelago Archives Exhibit #5: There I have been (Essay/travelogue/performance):

Bangalore-based inter-disciplinary artist, researcher and writer, Kiran Kumar’s, versatile offerings range from performance, video, installation and exhibition, to writing and archiving. 

Watch him present a virtual travelogue and interactive show through Zoom that unfolds anecdotes, recollections, fantasies, documents and manifestos from travels across the Kāverī delta and Central Java where the timewheel is still manually turned through ritual, song and dance. 

Be there for the journey!

When: 10am 

Nachom NAF from Imphal presents 1 sq ft Tokhai (Dance):

It will be an experience of a lifetime to see Nachom NAF from Imphal, founded by Shyamchorond Nongmeikapam and Surjit Nongmeikapam, perform 1 square ft Tokhai, a journey across history that depicts the struggle for land and survival.

Surjit Nongmeikapam said, “It is a journey inspired by my grandmother’s memories from the Japanese invasion during World War 2, and relates to the struggle for land that people have faced time and again in human history. This happens even now, when migrant labourers return home and struggle to hold on to a square foot of land for their survival.”

1 sq. ft Tokhai transcends local geography and is deeply rooted in human experience.  Tokhai, loosely translated as separation or separated, engages with the question, whether human’s desire and tendency today to get separated from one another could yield a new cosmic beauty or will it irreversibly erase a beautiful story.

It also draws from the socio-political climate of Manipur.

The piece is performed by Senjam Hemjit , Biken Waikhom, and Surjit Nongmeikapam and choreographed by Surjit Nongmeikapam.

Check out a preview here: https://www.facebook.com/NAFmanipur/videos/2671184343192356/

When: 11am

The Queer Muslim Project : Exploring Queer Muslim Futures and Utopias”
Artists in conversation: Sarah Naqvi (Amsterdam) & Reya Ahmed (Kolkata)

The Queer Muslim Project is one of the largest global online networks of LGBTIQ+ Muslims with a community of over 20,000 people.  They work to equip LGBTIQ+ persons with the skills necessary to challenge existing narratives of fear and stigma around their bodies and identities through visual art, storytelling, inclusive faith-based dialogue, identifying adequate legal and mental health support, and creating safe and enabling online and offline spaces.

When: Noon

Mangrove Theatre Centre, Sunderbans presents Bonobibir Pala :

The Mangrove Theatre Centre, based out of the Sunderbans, is an eight-year old organisation with children’s theatre, folk and traditional theatre practice. They organised the Sunderban Natya Utsav, Sishu Mela and Baul Utsav in Sunderbans. Their team has been collaborating with folk artists of the region under the able guidance of National School of Drama veteran Sajal Mondal and supported by the ministry of culture.

Stand by for a riveting performance of Bonobibir Pala, a folk theatre telling the story of Bonobibi, the guardian spirit of the forests, who the people of the Sunderbans believe will protect them from all harm.

When: 4pm 

Amazing David, Illusionist presents Magic Comes Home: 

The Illusionist is here to make you believe in magic! Unlike watching a video, David actually interacts with you and attempts to read your mind, connect telepathically and work magic for you through the screen. Keep your cameras on and be part of this experience.

To see what tricks he has up his sleeve, catch him on Zoom and be prepared to be mesmerised by charm, illusion and sheer amazement.

When: 5.30pm 

Sohini Sengupta, Kolkata, presents Dulia:

National award winning actor Sohini Sengupta will present a short solo, Leela Mazumder’s Dulia, a story of empathy, care and humaneness. 

As a leading actor-director-performer in Bangla theatre group Nandikar she has performed across the world. Dulia combines the literary purity of Leela Mazumdar with a simple but extremely sophisticated narrative style of a Kathak persona. 

Sohini plays a very elderly milkmaid travelling from Doiwallah Station to Dulia Station. 

When: 7pm to 8pm

Lou Majaw, the Bob Dylan of India, Shillong

Living legend Lou Majaw from Shillong, also known as the Bob Dylan of India, has completed a mindblowing 55 years in music. 

“I have not just been there and done that but am still doing it and always will,” says Lou, always smiling.

He will be belting out some inimitable Rock n Roll in his signature energetic and interactive style, on Facebook.

Watch him in action here:

When: 8:30pm to 9:30pm

Park Circus, Kolkata

Park Circus is a multi-lingual hip-hop collective based out of Kolkata who make sarcastic, socially unconscious rap. Their debut indie single, Millennial Whoop, was released by SoundCloud collective jwala. 

They have been featured on BoxOut FM’s Best of 2019 Hip-Hop & Rap list & Indiefind’s list of ‘Top Ten New Artists of 2019’.

Millennial Whoop subverts the infamous millennial whoop, making for a catchy track nonetheless, highlighted by its delicious, funky bass-line. They perform with an extended family of label mates on Azad Music Factory including National Animal and Joy Roy, as well as friends including Plastic Parvati, Doktor Gandu, Pulpy Shilpy and MC Manmeet Kaur.

Check out their work here: 

Pocket pinch

 The ticket to each performance costs Rs 200. Once you purchase a ticket, you receive the link to attend the show on Facebook or on Zoom.

Grab your tickets at tickets on https://www.offbeatccu.com/event/ right away!

As Nishit points out, “The ticket prices will be affordable, about what you would spend to commute to a venue and back or pay for a drink! Here is your opportunity to enjoy a festival that celebrates art, diversity and connections, safely at home.”

Overall, it’s a festival that celebrates empathy, love and good vibes.

Dr Alipta Jena Our Senior Assistant Editor Former teacher of English and former journalist with The Telegraph, Northeast, she is in love with the region and its stories. Holds a PhD in English, a Diploma in Journalism and a Bachelors in Fine Arts. Enjoys deejaying and is a member of Wagamuffins, a non-profit that takes care of Kolkata's strays...