A Celebration Of Indian Art And Dance

EDISON—Middlesex County College, in collaboration with the Indo American Arts Council, will present “Site of Departure, Source of Arrival,” a celebration of art and dance, on Thursday, Feb. 25 at the college.

An art exhibit reception, from 5-7 p.m., is free and open to the public; tickets for the dance performance, which begins at 7 p.m., are $20 for the general public and $10 for students and seniors. The art exhibit is in the Studio Theatre Gallery; the dance concert is in the Performing Arts Center. The art exhibit continues through March 25 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.


“This is going to be a vibrant, dynamic and multi-textured evening that features world-class artists and world-class dancers celebrating the South Asian heritage,” said Nadine Heller, chair of the visual, performing and media arts department at the college and the event director. “It is going to be a spectacular visual experience.”

These artists of the Diaspora are originally from India, Pakistan, Trinidad and the United States. All make a connection to their place of origin, expressing their heritage in diverse ways. At present, all work in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.

The curator of the exhibit, Kathryn Myers, professor of art at the University of Connecticut, said the College’s location in Edison made it a wonderful choice for the program.

“Since Edison is home to a significant South Asian population, it is an appropriate site for this exhibition where an abundance of creative endeavors reflects the rich diversity of this community,” she said. “It is an exhibition where a variety of artistic languages, sculpture, installation, video and printmaking invite translation, interpretation and engagement.”

The exhibition features work by Sonia Chaudhary, Ruby Chishti, Indrani Nayar-Gall, Asha Ganpat, Nidhi Jalan, Raghava KK, and Satyakam Saha. The artists represent new talent among the South Asian artistic community. Several have exhibited internationally.

Amina B. Ahmed, director of exhibitions for the Indo-American Arts Council, said, “We are proud of our mission and the work that we do in educating, building community and promoting awareness of Indian and cross-cultural art forms. It has been a pleasure working with the Middlesex County College team and with our guest curator Kathryn Myers, whose love and knowledge of South Asian art is beyond words.

“’Site of Departure, Source of Arrival’ is a powerful and provocative exhibition. It investigates the many ways these artists explore, unveil and reveal difference, identity, religion and culture, expressed through art practice as site and reference.” Many of the works are being shown for the first time.

The dance concert celebrates the works of four prominent performers of the Indian Diaspora from the tri-state region. They include the Parijat Desai Dance Company, the Parul Shah Dance Company, Maria Colaco Dance and Ramya Ramnarayan, a solo dancer.

Ramnarayan is a noted dancer, choreographer and educator, who blends tradition with innovation. Ramnarayan, who runs a dance company and school called “Nrithyanjali” in North Brunswick, holds a visiting faculty appointment in the Dance Department at Mason Gross School of Arts, Rutgers University.

The Parijat Desai Dance Company is led by Desai, the choreographer. Since 1995, he has been exploring ways to blend Indian classical dance, modern/postmodern dance and other forms.

The Parul Shah Dance Company is led by Shah, an internationally acclaimed dancer and choreographer whose work is expanding the classical medium beyond cultural boundaries, with a dedication to excellence.

Prachi Dalal, director of dance for the Indo American Arts Council, said the evening would be enjoyable for those familiar with dance and for those who are new to the dance experience.

“These dancers share movement and musical traditions from the Indian subcontinent reinterpreting it within their own contexts,” she said. “They present tradition through their visions – taking off from the source of tradition to innovate, reinterpret and create new narratives, movement vocabularies and aesthetic structures.”

For tickets to the dance concert, call 1-866-811-4111 or visit www.middlesexcc.edu/theatre.

Ramya Ramnarayan

The Parijat Desai Dance Company

The Parul Shah Dance Company

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