Eye on India Chicago Performing Arts/Literary Festival Sept. 15 – Oct 2

Eye on India Chicago proudly presents the 6th Annual festival of contemporary and traditional Indian culture from across Chicago and around the world, Sept. 15 to Oct. 2. This year’s offering includes the U.S. premiere of “Piya Behrupiya” by The Company Theatre of Mumbai, presented in collaboration with Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Other highlights of the festival include the cross-cultural collaborations of “Global Jam East Meets Middle East”, “KOLAMS – Convergence of Art and Mathematics”, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Vijay Seshadri, Natya Dance Theater and the art exhibit “Xenophilia” among others. In addition to performances, visiting artists are conducting workshops, demonstrations and other outreach events throughout the city. Festival events take place at major cultural institutions including Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The Field Museum, Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago Public Library and others. Many events are free and ticketed events range from $20 to $48. Tickets are on sale August 17. For more information, tickets and complete schedule of events visit www.EyeOnIndia.org.

“This year we have a very dynamic lineup of Indian artists from a variety of disciplines. So it is the perfect time to bring the festival’s offerings beyond the stage and into the neighborhoods,” said Eye on India Founder and President Anuradha Behari. “We moved the festival to September to make it easier to connect with schools and other community organizations in order to provide unique cultural and arts education opportunities. This program allows us to build even stronger cultural bridges between India and Chicago,”
Eye on India Chicago’s 2016 highlights include the U.S. premiere of The Company Theatre’s “Piya Behrupiya,” a version of “Twelfth Night” performed in Hindi with English subtitles; “Global Jam East Meets Middle East” featuring musicians Subrata Bhattacharya and Abhishek Lahiri as well as Chicagoans George Lawley and Ronnie Malley; a literary series including Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Vijay Seshadri and author Anuradha Roy; Folk musicians Rajasthan Josh; KOLAMS – Convergence of Art and Mathematics, an interactive experience with this ancient art form and the math behind the patterns; “Xenophilia” art exhibit featuring works by Indian expats; and the fashion exhibit “The Sari Project” which showcases winning garments from the Eye on India 2016 competition.
The Complete Eye on India Chicago schedule of events is as follows:
Tickets on sale August 17, 2016


Sept. 15
A Reading and Conversation with Vijay Seshadri
Poetry Foundation, Main Room, 61 W. Superior
7 p.m.
Vijay Seshadri

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, essayist and critic Vijay Seshadri will speak about the immigrant experience in terms of vocabulary, sensibility and how it influenced his way of writing Poetry. He is the author of “Wild Kingdom, The Long Meadow,” winner of the James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets, and “3 Sections” winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. Seshadri was born in Bangalore, India and now lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Sept 17
Eye on India – Words on Water
Vijay Seshadri and Anuradha Roy in Conversation with Srikanth Reddy
Harold Washington Library Center, Cindy Pritzker Auditorium, 400 S. State Street
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Join Pulitzer Prize winning poet Vijay Seshadri and celebrated author Anuradha Royas they discuss their lives and work in two special sessions.
Anuradha Roy

Anuradha Roy’s latest book, “Sleeping on Jupiter”, won the DSC Prize for Fiction 2016 and was nominated for the Man Booker Prize 2016. It has been nominated for various other literary prizes, including the FT/ Oppenheimer Prize, Hindu Prize for Best Fiction 2015, the Tata Book of the Year Award 2015, and the Atta Galatta Bangalore Literature Festival Fiction Prize 2015. Her first novel, “An Atlas of Impossible Longing,” has been widely translated and was picked as one of the Best Books of the Year by the Washington Post and the Seattle Times. She lives in Ranikhet, India.

Srikanth Reddy is the author of two books of poetry-Facts for “Visitors” (2004), and “Voyager” (2011)-both published by the University of California Press. A book of criticism, Changing Subjects: Digressions in Modern American Poetry, was published by Oxford University Press in 2012. ] A graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop and the doctoral program in English at Harvard University, Reddy is currently an Associate Professor of English at the University of Chicago.


Sept. 18 – 24
An Exhibition of School of the Art Institute Students (SAIC)
and recent graduates from India
Fulton Street Collective, 1821 W. Hubbard Street, 3rd Floor
Opening Reception (Following “East Meets Middle East”): Sept. 18 from 3 to 5 p.m.
Conversation and Closing Cocktail Reception: Sept. 24 from 4 to 7 p.m.
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and by appointment
This exhibition features a selection of work by current School of the Art Institute (SAIC) students and recent graduates who have relocated from India to Chicago for the program, temporarily making a home here, building a new body of work, and translating an existing practice for the Chicago public. Megha Ralapati, who oversees the Jackman Goldwasser Residency at Hyde Park Art Center, is the curator and visionary for “Xenophilia.” The exhibit is presented in partnership with Shaurya Kumar, professor at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


Sept. 18 – 24
“The Sari Project”
Presented in partnership with Columbia College Chicago Fashion Design students
Fulton Street Collective, 1821 W. Hubbard Street, 3rd Floor
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and by appointment
The Sari Project

Eye on India Chicago has collaborated with Columbia College Chicago Fashion Design students on The Sari Project since 2014. The goal of The Sari Project is to interface with fashion students in Chicago, educate and expose them to a traditional garment widely worn all over India. Students are given the challenge to transform the traditional sari into a modern piece of clothing. This year, the students answer the question: “What does it mean when the traditional and contemporary intersect?”. The several Sari Project pieces were modeled at the June 9 Eye on India Chicago gala where patrons voted on top design.


Sept. 18
“Global Jam with East Meets Middle East”
Fulton Street Collective, 1821 W. Hubbard Street, 3rd Floor
12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
TICKETS: Suggested donation $25
Abhishek Lahiri

Four critically-acclaimed musicians from India and Chicago converge for this unique cross-cultural collaboration. Chicagoan George Lawley (Darbuka) is an accomplished musician of the three main percussion instruments of the Middle East and Mediterranean region. He specializes in Middle Eastern, Balkan, Turkish and Greek percussion and is part of the world music group “Lamajamal.” Chicagoan and “Lamajamal” member Ronnie Malley (Oud) is a multi-instrumentalist musician, theatrical performer, producer, and educator who has worked with some of the top Chicago theater companies including

Ronnie Malley
The Goodman Theater, Lookingglass Theatre, Court Theatre and many others. He conducts Arabic language artist residencies for Chicago Public Schools and is a faculty member at The Old Town School of Folk Music and Chicago Academy for the Arts, as well as a veteran artist with Chicago Arts Partnership in Education. Subrata Bhattacharya (tabla) is well known in the Indian classical music community. His Indian fusion band “Naad-The Everlasting Sound” has toured in India, the U.S. and the Middle East. Abhishek Lahiri(sarod) blend three major gharanas (schools) of sarod playing: Shajahanpur, Senia Maihar and Senia Bangash gharanas. Lahiri’s two solo albums “Sparkling Sarod” and “Mood of Puriya Kalyan” received nominations at the Global Indian Music Awards (GiMA) of Mumbai in 2010 and 2013.


Sept. 24
Shruti Kirti Trunk Show
Fulton Street Collective, 1821 W. Hubbard Street, 3rd Floor
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
FREE – but reservations are required
Shruti Kirti is holding an exclusive trunk show of her unique women’s career wear clothing. Her designs incorporate elements of minimalist and architectural design as well as influences from her native culture of Rajasthan, India. Kirti’s line, SHRUTI KIRTI, blends clean aesthetic with ethnic roots into modern silhouettes with bold hues. Kirti graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a degree in fashion design. In addition to her BFA, Shruti Kirti is also a Designer in Residence at the Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy’s on State Street. The Shruti Kirti Trunk Show is open to the public but reservations are required.


Sept. 26
“Mirrors and Windows: A View of A.K. Ramanujan’s Poetics”
Guillermo Rodriquez in conversation with Jason Grunebaum
Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts
915 E. 60th at 6:30 p.m.
Guillermo Rodriguez
Author Guillermo Rodriguez examines the life and work of A.K. Ramanujan (1929-1993), an iconic poet and scholar, at home with several languages, literary traditions and disciplines. Ramanujan’s creativity and critical understanding spanned centuries and cultures. The evening is moderated by Jason Grunebaum, a writer and Hindi translator whose book-length translations include Uday Prakash’s “The Girl with the Golden Parasol” and “The Walls of Delhi”. He is senior lecturer in Hindi at the University of Chicago.


Guillermo Rodríguez, an active promoter of Indo-Spanish cultural relations, is the founding director of Casa de la India, a pioneering cultural centre in Spain, which has become a model for India’s cultural diplomacy abroad. A passionate traveller, he lived in India in the 1990s and specialized in modern Indian poetry in English, obtaining a PhD in English from the University of Kerala and the University of Valladolid. He publishes regularly critical essays on Indian literature and culture and is the author of “When Mirrors Are Windows. A View of A.K. Ramanujan`s Poetics” (OUP, 2016).


Sept. 27 and 29
“Piya Behrupiya” performed by The Company Theatre, India
Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand Ave.
7:30 p.m.
Piya Behrupiya

Eye on India, in partnership with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, is pleased to present the U.S. debut of “Piya Behrupiya,” an award-winning Hindi translation of “Twelfth Night” as part of Shakespeare 400. Amidst the household of Olivia, two campaigns are being quietly waged: one by Duke Orsino against the indifferent heart of Olivia; the other by an alliance of servants and hangers-on against the high-handedness of her steward Malvolio. When Orsino engages the crossdressed Viola to plead with Olivia on his behalf, a bittersweet chain of events follows. Part of the citywide festival, “Shakespeare 400 Chicago”, the production combines cruelty with high comedy and the pangs of unrequited love with some of the subtlest poetry and most exquisite songs of Shakespeare. This play is performed in Hindi with projected English subtitles.

The Company Theatre (TCT) was formed in 1993 in Mumbai, India, and is an ensemble of professionals who work with an inter-disciplinary & multi-cultural approach to diverse art forms, rooted in a search for the truth of human experience. TCT creates performances ranging from physical mime and absurdist drama to clown narratives and musical comedies. These productions travel to audiences from historical venues like the Globe in London UK to theatres in small towns of India. Alongside performances, TCT also conducts workshops and master classes, organized theatre festivals and contributed to developing an energized performance culture around India.


Sept. 28
Rajasthan Josh
The Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave
(Part of the World Music Wednesday series)
8:30 p.m.
TICKETS: Suggested donation $10
Rajasthan Josh

Folk and world music sensation Rajasthan Josh makes its return to Eye on India Chicago after a sold-out performance in 2013. Rajasthan Josh is a collective of Manganiyar musicians from Jaisalmer and surrounding villages who make music with rhythmic, hypnotic desert sounds, that embraces traditional and contemporary styles and fusions. The music is grounded in the traditions of the Manganiyars and Langas: artists and musicians who for centuries have traversed Rajasthan performing for the Moghul rulers and Rajput princes as well as at weddings, births, feasts and funerals. Rajasthan Josh travels the globe performing the folk traditions of northwestern India with instruments such as the nagada, hand clips, dhol, tabla, and harmonium while incorporating vocal styles from mystic Sufi traditions to devotional bhajans to popular folk songs of Rajasthan. Rajasthan Josh is led and directed by Chugge Khan who moderates each song and also plays morchang (a jaw harp, a kind of a lamellophone) and bhapang (a string monochord instrument) and the more popular Kartal (clappers).


Oct. 1
KOLAMS – Convergence of Art and Mathematics
The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, West Entrance
Workshop 11 a.m., Lecture 1 p.m.
Kolam Contest

Mathematician, educator and professor Dr. Sunita Vatuk leads participants in a workshop on Kolams; visualizations of complex mathematics through patterns. Kolam designs are made by trickling white chalk through the fingers. They are almost exclusively made by South Indian Hindu women. Small to medium kolams are put every morning between the street and the home, and larger kolams are put on special occasions. Vatuk’s presentation “KOLAMS- Convergence of Art and Mathematics” at 1pm reveals the fluidity between art and math through exploring South Indian kolams.


Vatuk is a mathematician, math educator, former Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Fellow, and professor at the City College of New York. She spent several years in Tamil Nadu studying connections between kolams and mathematics, culminating in a research project on the mathematical thinking of women who are expert kolam-makers. This spring she worked with CPS students to create kolam designs as part of Eye on India Chicago’s outreach efforts.


Oct. 1
Natya Dance Theater
“The Incomplete Gesture” in collaboration with Indonesia’s Nan Jombang Dance
North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie
8 p.m.
TICKETS: $20 – $38
Natya Dance Theatre

Chicago’s Natya Dance Theatre in collaboration with the contemporary Indonesian dance company Nan Jombang, has created a dynamic new cross-cultural work: “The Incomplete Gesture.” This new work explores the tension of misunderstanding and the challenges and gaps in communicating in a variety of relationships. The mythology of India is used as a reference point, but the work stretches further to address the ongoing contemporary saga of communication clashes. The lack of a common cultural vocabulary and struggle to be not only welcomed, but to be understood is the centerpiece of “The Incomplete Gesture.” In this new work, Natya’s geometric, vertical Bharata Natyam (dance-theatre of South India) meets Nan Jombang’s controlled style of Minangkabau (the Indonesian martial art influencing Nan Jombang’s contemporary dance movement). “The Incomplete Gesture” will be performed to a recording of the original score commissioned for Natya.


Oct. 2
The Eye on India 2016 festival closes on Oct. 2, which is Gandhi Jayanti, the national festival celebrated in India to mark the birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
The full schedule of Chicagoland Gandhi Jyanti events will be listed at www.EyeOnIndia.org .
Eye on India Chicago runs September 15 through October 2, 2016. Many events feature conversations with the artists and local authorities on Indian art, providing opportunities for the exchange of ideas and cultural understanding. The full schedule of events in the Chicagoland area is available at www.EyeOnIndia.org.


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EYE ON INDIA is a not for profit organization with a mission to provide a platform for cultural, artistic and educational exchange, collaboration and understanding between India and the U.S. Since its founding in 2011, Eye on India has hosted over 75 events in partnership with local and international cultural, educational, civic and South Asian community organizations, establishing itself as the leading platform for Indian programming in Chicago’s diverse cultural calendar. For more information visitwww.EyeOnIndia.org.