Exhibition of Indian culture

Indian culture explored next month as part of Cultural Awareness celebrations in Londonderry.
Indian culture explored next month as part of Cultural Awareness celebrations in Londonderry.

A special exhibition exploring the personal stories of members of the Indian community in Northern Ireland is set to open in the Tower Museum this week.

Sanskriti will shine a light on the Indian culture and looks at the shared heritage of communities living side by side in the North, particularly South Asian communities.

Organised by ArtsEkta in conjunction with Derry City and Strabane District Council, the exhibition opens on October 1 and runs until November 29.

Sanskriti will use a range of mediums including photography, artwork and recordings, to tell some of the stories of Indian people who have settled here. The exhibition and workshops have been organised by ArtsEkta, a multi-award winning arts and cultural organisation that works to develop inter-cultural relationships at the heart of the community.

Over the course of the exhibition a number of ‘Explore a Different Culture’ workshops will take place in the Tower Museum as a way of celebrating cultural diversity and finding out more about new customs and traditions.

Rachel Radcliff from Artsekta will also run two oral history workshops in October where she will be available to meet members of the local Indian community and record their stories, on October 13 and 14 between 2pm and 4pm. A week of school workshops will also take place in November.

“Sanskriti is a very exciting project which celebrates the cultural exchange between India and Northern Ireland,” said Rachel.

“A visit to the exhibition will see you travel from 1960s India to Northern Ireland, two very different worlds. Participants speak of their experiences of door-to-door sales, seeing the sea for the first time, family life, marriage ceremonies, food, clothing and of course the weather.

“Northern Ireland has always had a connection to India through industry. Many large engineering companies such as Mackies and Sons, the Sirocco Works and textile factories all sent people from Northern Ireland to fit machinery, work on sites and sell goods.

“I’m looking forward to working with the local communities which surround the Tower Museum. During the exhibition I hope to hear many stories of migration, trade and rites of passage. I would like to encourage people to attend our free oral history workshops where they can bring along a photograph or object which relates to a story they would like to tell.

“This could be about a visit to India, a wedding or naming ceremony, the journey they have made from India, or a local business owned by a member of the Indian community.”

The exhibition opens on October 1, at 12.30pm.

Commending the exhibition, the Mayor, Elisha McCallion said: “I think this exhibition will offer a fascinating insight into the Indian culture and the growing Indian community here within the city. ArtsEkta are doing some amazing work in the local community, and I would love to see the exhibition being well supported as a great opportunity to learn more about alternative traditions, promoting better understanding and building new relationships between communities.”

For more on Community Relations and Cultural Awareness Week visit www.facebook.com/towermuseum or telephone 02871 372411.