News & Opportunities

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Museum partners sought for Kathakali and Carnival heritage project

Museum partners are sought for a heritage project exploring Kathakali (classical dance drama from south India) and Carnival (originally from the Caribbean). The Kala Chethena Kathakali Company, Southampton and The New Carnival Company, Isle of Wight are already on board, museum partners sought for a potential joint HLF application in respect of a project to highlight the history and heritage of Kathakali and and Carnival through an exciting exhibition, and associated activities, that will require a secure gallery space due to the value of the costumes.

What is the project?

Due to the highly successful exhibition at Worthing Museum and Arts Gallery (Feb – May 2015) we are inspired to create another heritage project to celebrate and discover the heritage links between Kathakali, the classical dance drama of Kerala, south India and Carnival in 2017.

The project will involve an educational/community programme of activities and a colourful exhibition of Kathakali and carnival costumes, masks, photographs and artifacts.

The Kala Chethena Kathakali Company, Southampton and The New Carnival Company, Isle of Wight are already involved. We have worked together several times over the last 20 years.

We want to highlight the extraordinary history and heritage of Kathakali and Carnival through an exciting exhibition, and associated activities, that will require a secure gallery space due to the value of the costumes.

The exhibition and activities will give people a chance to appreciate and learn about the elaborate Kathakali and carnival costumes, rituals and traditions. This is something we are unable to do as a touring theatre company.

Why are museum partners being sought?

Kathakali specialist Barbara Vijayakumar is looking to work with a museum to deliver this project to enable people of all ages, backgrounds and interests to discover something new about heritage.

Barbara plans to apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund to support the project.

What museum partners can expect to get out of being involved

An opportunity to host a colourful exhibition, with related outreach workshops, that will probably attract a wide section of the community.

Present an exhibition featuring two traditions that are rich in cultural diversity with the potential to encourage people from ethnic minorities to come to museums.

Have experienced specialists in Kathakali and Carnival to plan and deliver the project.

Continue the excellent work achieved through the highly successful Kathakali exhibitions held at The Discovery Centre, Winchester 2013 and The Worthing Museum and Art gallery, Worthing 2015. (This will be our 22nd exhibition).

What museum partners would need to contribute to the project

Provide secure museum space, support staff, their particular heritage knowledge and skill, help install the exhibition, host the opening/private view and publicity.

We would like to link the project with an aspect of their collection such as paintings/photographs eg – images of India.

Help to run some workshop sessions in the exhibition space. This worked very well in Worthing and made a connection with the exhibits.

A financial contribution would be welcome or in kind – space, staff, publicity etc.

To get involved, please contact  Barbara as soon as possible as the consultation, final structure of the project and the grant application process will take around 2- 3 months plus a 2 month appraisal time.

Barbara Vijayakumar email: barbaravijayakumar@yahoo.co.uk

Tel: 02380 420114 or 07740123070