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Artists from Wales and India join together to celebrate Diwali

Indian musician Rani Marin and Welsh musician Gareth Bonello in Pahambir, India.

This year’s Diwali celebrations will see artists from Wales and India come together to share how they have worked in partnership to create new work.

In 2017 British Council Wales launched India Wales, a cultural programme that has seen artists from both countries crossing the world to work together.

Since the programme’s launch, artists in Wales and India have continued to collaborate on projects across literature, dance, theatre and visual arts.

This year further partnerships were planned, but Covid-19 has meant artists have had to work together mainly online.

Head of arts at British Council Wales, Rebecca Gould, explained: “Following on from the success of the India Wales programme, last year we launched a new grants scheme, Connections Through Culture: India Wales.

“Five grants were awarded to partnerships of artists and arts organisations from the two countries.

“Unfortunately, as the artists couldn’t travel to work with each other, they had to quickly shift much of their planned project activity online.

“To honour their determination and spirit we decided to create an online event, the India-Wales Digital Festival: Connections Through Culture.

“We’re bringing together Welsh and Indian visual artists, musicians, textile artists, writers, theatre makers, art leaders and choreographers to discuss the work they have created together over recent years.

“The best thing about India Wales is all the brilliant artists who have come together to form new artistic connections and so generously shared their work and experiences with each other, and with the rest of the arts sector in Wales and India.

“Though we couldn’t represent every project in this festival, we’ve tried to give a cross-section of the amazing work that has taken place.”

The event will take place over a two-week period to coincide with the Diwali celebrations in India and Wales, starting on 12 November.

The Festival will include panel discussions and Instagram Live events. The full programme can be seen on the British Council Wales website.

Welsh Government deputy minister, Jane Hutt, said: “The India Wales Digital Festival is a welcome addition to this year’s Welsh Government Diwali celebrations. The Wales India programme has helped strengthen cultural relations between the two countries and it is good to see artists from both countries continuing to collaborate despite the barriers caused by the pandemic.”

Barbara Wickham OBE, director, British Council, India said: “India and Wales have longstanding cultural ties rooted in arts and education. British Council’s current work with the Welsh Government and Government of Telangana in south India is testimony to that strong legacy and our shared ambition for future positive cultural relations.

“The India-Wales Connections Through Culture Festival further strengthens creative collaboration between pioneering artists in theatre, music, dance, film and craft and will enable emerging arts and culture leaders in both nations to continue that collaboration even in these very difficult times.”