Strong Indian influence at CWAE event


Indian artistes, in collaboration with local talent, make the CWAE event a memorable one, reports SAI NARAYAN


It was a memorable evening for visitors to the Canning World Arts Exchange (CWAE) free event at the Shelley foreshore in Perth on February 1. The second year of this unique international arts event featured performances by master musicians from India, the Fremantle Symphony Orchestra, UWA Choral Society, the Temple of Fine Arts, WA Dance Sport Champions, and the Middar Aboriginal Dance Company.

The performances began after a traditional welcome to the country speech by an Aboriginal elder. The Shelley foreshore is a beautiful landscape set on the Canning River with plenty of grassy areas to set up a picnic. Hundreds of people turned up to enjoy the event and soak up the atmosphere of an international arts exchange.

The musicians from India were aptly described as ‘maestros’ by the compere. Artistes Sameer Rao on the bansuri (Indian Bamboo flute), Manish Pingle on the mohan veena (Indian slide guitar), Vicky on the tabla and Tao Issaro, percussionist, enthralled the audience with their mesmerising music.

As the musicians wound up their routine, the University of Western Australia Choral Society (UWACS) artistes, all dressed in white, came on to perform a collaborative routine with the Temple of Fine Arts (TFA) dancers. The chorus provided a backdrop of Sanskrit chants from the rig veda as the TFA dancers rendered a dramatic performance entitled ‘Ahuti’.

Painting is usually not considered as a performance which live audiences can enjoy, unlike dance or music. However, visual artist Sarasa Krishnan wowed the audience, combining music and dance movements while painting a canvas on stage in front of a live audience. Sarasa and an associate  produced fantastic paintings of an Indian woman in a sari and Krishna playing a flute, leaving the audience spellbound. And they painted despite a strong breeze which made their canvas move around all the time.

“Painting on a moving canvas was a challenging but invigorating experience. The wind factor was a force to reckon with”! Sarasa told Indian Link.

So how did she get the idea of combining these art forms?

Said Sarasa, “I am basically a dancer and choreographer, and this invariably influences my work as a visual artist. A dancer is inherently a musician, a painter, a designer, and much more. When you allow yourself the freedom to ‘play’, a wondrous world is revealed. Only one requirement is necessary: an artiste has to be fearless”.

“Philip Glass’ opera ‘Satyagraha‘, played by the Fremantle Philharmonic Orchestra and sung by the WA Choral society provided an exhilarating musical backdrop that infused the movement painting! The audience being in close contact was certainly a catalyst on this incredible evening”, she added.

Among her many accomplishments, Sarasa is artistic director of the TFA and deputy director of SMV.

About the event, Sarasa acknowledged organiser John Mclaughlin, Arts and Cultural Events Officer of the Canning council’s accomplishment. “(He) is an artiste himself, and is not afraid to take chances. Such multicultural exchanges within the community will foster a greater harmony within our society. Many more councils should follow his lead in creating such sizzling events that truly bring various cultures together”, she said.

The evening’s performance had many other artistes of high calibre including those of the Fremantle Philharmonic Orchestra who showed commitment in learning and executing compositions from the rig veda and Philip Glass’ Satyagraha musical piece. The audience was treated to a delightful mix of local and international talent, which is the whole purpose of the art exchange program. In 2014, the TFA and Indian artistes in collaboration with local talent, presented a remarkable performance.