• Group photograph

A spectacular UK-India Year of Culture was launched today at Buckingham Palace to strengthen the special cultural partnership between the two countries. The event marks the beginning of a year-long programme to mark the 70th anniversary of Indian independence and the cultural relationship with the UK with an exciting festival of events celebrating the vibrant cultural history of the two countries.

We'll be participating in the Year of Culture collaborating with internationally-renowned arts organisation Kinetika on Silk River, an ambitious project which explores the unique relationship between London and Kolkata through artistic exchange between communities along the Thames Estuary and India’s Hooghly River.

Kinetika’s Artistic Director Ali Pretty, with associate Artistic Director Ruchira Das Think Arts, India and an international team of artists, writers and photographers, will capture and interpret the experience of journeying along these two mighty rivers.

Working in 20 locations from Murshidabad to Batanagar along the River Hooghly and Kew Gardens to Southend, River Thames to reinterpret a shared heritage, Silk River will raise cultural awareness of the Indo-British relationship through engaging diaspora communities and connecting young people with artists along the route. In the UK the project will culminate in September as part of Totally Thames with river walks where the stories of the 20 locations will be revealed to local, national and international audiences through the showing of 20 giant hand-painted Bengali silk scrolls and accompanying performances before heading to India. 

It was my first visit to India in 1984, that inspired me to work in the arts using them as a tool for social change and community development. Silk River will build on my experience over the last 30 years, bringing together communities from the UK and India for a meaningful exchange of stories and ideas.

Ali Pretty, Kinetika’s Artistic Director​