Posted on : 09/01/2015 12:19pm
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In my mind, Punjab is mostly associated with blossoming mustard fields spreading across the length and breadth of the region (I blame pop culture, obviously) and vivacious people ready to take on the world without a hint of fear or doubt. However, it’s a lesser-known fact that, beyond these deeply-etched stereotypes, Punjab is a bundle of creativity.
In a small village in Punjab called Preet Nagar, creativity knows no bounds. Located 20 kilometres from both Amritsar and Lahore, it’s a unique artist community created by Punjabi writer, poet and visionary Gurbaksh Singh who saw the region as a place where creatives from across the country could get together and give birth to ideas. Decades later, Preet Nagar stands strong with a unique publication, community-driven environment, and an ambitious artist residency.
This weekend, Preet Nagar is inviting art connoisseurs from across the country to come visit its first art exhibition ‘Punjabiyat’ which is a tribute to the artist community. Through various art works, performances, and activities, this cultural festival will give rise to four days full of synergy and inspiration that cannot be found elsewhere. The Preet Nagar MELA invites everyone to think differently about the modern world without losing out on the importance of local traditions.
The works of art on view in this special temporary public exhibition were developed at Preet Nagar through a series of artists’ residencies by artists from India, Mauritius, Canada, and students from Srishti Institute for Art, Design and Technology (Bangalore), through the Creative Interruptions project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council UK, with the additional support of University of Strathclyde, Glasgow and University of British Columbia, which explores how the contemporary arts can shape how we remember and represent the past.
Some of the artists who shall be exhibiting their work at the MELA include Taha Ahmad from Lucknow, Manvi Bajaj from Bangalore, Nina Celada from France, Krishna Loochumun from Mauritius, Ratika Singh from Punjab and more. From impersonating Saadat Hasan Manto’s “Toba Tek Singh” in the contemporary pluralistic landscape of Punjab to putting the spotlight on understanding what borders, that are a result of a severed past, mean today, there artworks on display are diverse and meant to spark dialogue on important issues.
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