The Museum of Croydon,
London Sitar Ensemble and Subrang Arts (formerly known
as Sutton Subrang) opened a major exhibition in the Croydon
NOW gallery of the Museum of Croydon, and other public
display areas at Croydon Clocktower, from April to August
The exhibition showcased the outputs of the Heritage Lottery Fund
funded ‘String and Dance Festival’ Project which was
run by London Sitar Ensemble and Subrang Arts. The core exhibition,
which was displayed in two separate galleries at Croydon Clocktower,
comprised of oral history interviews (video), musical instruments
and associated objects from the Community Groups involved and other
donors like the Horniman Museum, photographs and videos showing
musical performances and dances from the Indian Sub-Continent as
performed in the UK, costumes and associated musical instruments
of all eight classical Indian dances and three folk dance genres
from western India. Within the musical instruments display the
emphasis was on string instruments like the sitar, sarangi, violin,
veena, sarod, santoor and the supporting instruments like drums
Two photo exhibitions complemented the exhibition and were displayed
in other public areas of the Clocktower: one showing Croydon-based
dancers and musicians; and the other about a music instruments
collection project in India.
The exhibition was embedded in a string of events like workshops,
lectures/demonstarations, oral tradition interviews and concerts.
Taking and using a wealth of digital video, still photography and
audio recordings constituted a major part of the activities and
Indian music and dance is one of the finest traditions in the world.
Tracing its roots back to times immemorial, these art forms have
an interesting pattern of evolutionary changes. Many changes, transformation
and evolution have taken place, enriched by the contribution of
the musicians and dancers, great and small, famous and unknown.
The India - Britain story is a 400 year long tale of travel, migration
and cultural exchange. This journey has made a significant influence
on the cultural scene of British Arts. The ‘Indian Strings
and Dances’ project, aimed to explore the evolution and contribution
made by the musicians and dancers in Britain. The exhibition provided
a representative sample of the artistic and cultural contribution
made by South Asian people to the development of music in the UK.
The exhibition was curated by Lata Desai and Rolf Killius in close
collaboration with Rob Shakespeare of Museum of Croydon.