Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Namaste Korea showcase Indian culture

An Indian traditional dance during the opening ceremony of Namaste Korea at the Sejong Center in Seoul.

The opening ceremony of “Namaste Korea,” a festival celebrating Indian culture, was held on June 30 at the Sejong Center in Seoul. It is the first in a series of events celebrating 2011 as the “Year of India” in Korea, which was agreed to at the Korea-India summit in 2010. The first event was held in March in New Delhi, India.

The ceremony was attended by several figures from the cultural and diplomatic fields, including Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Chung Byoung-gug, President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Karan Singh, and India’s Ambassador to Korea Skand R. Tayal. Performances included Indian traditional music and classical dances by Ranjana’s Odissi Dance Company, lead by renowned dancer and artist Ranjana Gauhar.

Right: Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Chung Byoung-gug, President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Karan Singh and Indian Ambassador to Korea Skand R. Tayal lit candles to celebrate the festival opening on June 30.

At the opening ceremony Minister Chung remarked, "This festival is the starting point for more active cultural exchanges between India and Korea. With the statue of Tagore, which was erected in Seoul in May, and a number of Indian cultural performances being held in this year, the two countries will become even closer."

Gauhar, who recieved an award from Indian Academy of Music and Drama in 2007, performed a variety of traditional and contemporary dances with her team, and also incorporated traditional Indian instruments into the show, such as tabla, dohlak, and pakhawaj.

On July 1, a second ceremony was held for the opening of the Indian Cultural Centre in Hannam-dong, Seoul. The center was established by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), an entity of the Government of India responsible for promoting India's relations through the culture and art. It will run a variety of programs for people to learn yoga, traditional dance, contemporary Bollywood dance, Indian cooking and Hindi.

Left:Indian traditional dance performed by world-renowned Odissi dancer Ranjana Gauhar,during the opening ceremony of the Indian Cultural Center in Korea. Right: The ribbon cutting ceremony.

During the opening ceremony, ICCR President Karan Singh said, "Korea and India are ancient civilizations known to each other through the ages. The formal inauguration of the center is another major step designed to deepen India-Korea cultural ties. I hope that the center will gradually develop into center of intellectual and academic interaction for Korean scholars on all aspects of life in India."

Ambassador Tayal said, "The center has been built in response to growing interest among the Korean people in traditional and modern Indian arts like dance, yoga, and music.”

As part of the Namaste Korea festival, the modern Indian art exhibition "Giant Elephant" is also being held at Gong Artspace in Insa-dong in central Seoul. The exhibition, which focuses on the works of young Indian artists, will continue until the end of July.

In addition to the events in Seoul, other performances by Indian artists have been scheduled throughout the year around the country, including Busan and Jeju.

For more information, please call 02-792-4257 or email, iccseoul@gmail.com, or visit the center’s homepage at http://www.indoculture.org.

Source: Korea.net

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