Tuesday, 28 February 2017

The UK India Year of Culture follows the joint announcement in 2015 by Prime Minister Modi and then-Prime Minister David Cameron of a bilateral initiative to mark cultural ties between the UK and India; as well as Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to India in November 2016, which further strengthened the relationship between the two countries.

 The launch took place on 28th February 2017 at the British Film Institute (BFI) where, as a highlight of the India programme in the UK, a classic Indian silent film, Shiraz, will premiere at the Archive Gala of the 61st BFI London Film Festival in October. Shiraz tells the love story of the 17th century princess who inspired the construction of the Taj Mahal. Later in the year the film which has been preserved by the BFI National Film Archive and not seen in India since 1928, will be screened on an outdoor stage in front of the Taj Mahal itself. Both screenings will be accompanied by a live performance of a specially commissioned score by the Indian composer and sitar player Anoushka Shankar. Subsequently Shiraz will screen at festivals and cinemas across India as a powerful symbol of the partnership between India and the UK.

 Preceding this event, the 2017 Year of Culture was officially launched by Hon’ble Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace on 27 February. British Council was invited to project an image onto the façade of Buckingham Palace. The peacock, both regal and dramatic, is the perfect metaphor for a year of incredible cultural events connecting UK and India. This was specially created by Carrom, a design company with roots both in India and the UK. The peacock, India’s national bird, offers an iconic motif which on a larger level arguably stands for both India and the performances the Year of Culture will host in both the countries. It encompasses different people and traditions that make India such a diverse and unique country. The peacock’s plumage display is reminiscent of the Indian fireworks, a symbol of celebration and festivities.

 The Year of Culture will include programmes celebrating India’s heritage and contemporary culture through events held across both the countries. A slew of new digital initiatives, aimed specifically at engaging young people in both countries and focusing on collaboration and interactivity, are being launched to mark the year. These will include ‘Mix the City’, an interactive digital platform, designed by the British Council that will showcase the diversity of sound, music and cultural influences of 4 Indian cities. It will feature 12 Indian musicians and four UK curators (music producers Boxed In, Django Django, Anna Meredith and Kutiman). The app celebrates British digital innovation, a joint love of music and provides an interactive digital environment where the user feels empowered to create her/his own music track.

 Alan Gemmell Director British Council, India said, “I am delighted to announce the launch of the ‘2017 UK-India Year of Culture’. The great partnership between India and the UK goes beyond economic partnerships. With a rich cultural heritage and some of the most iconic cultural exports to the world, both the nations have a reason to celebrate this cultural pairing and reiterate their positions as the cultural epicentres of the world. The new initiatives will further strengthen our ties and deepen our understanding of the past as well as help us appreciate the contemporary faces of both UK and India.”

He further added, “It isn’t every day that you have the opportunity to project an image onto the façade of Buckingham Palace. The peacock, both regal and dramatic, is the perfect metaphor for a year of incredible cultural events connecting UK and India. By using traditional motifs in a cool and contemporary way, Carrom have come up with a stunning image for one of the world’s most iconic facades. We hope it will delight Londoners and make them curious to find out more.”
Studio Carrom: “We wanted to ensure people knew this was about India, but which would also surprise and intrigue people, encouraging them to follow the UK/India Year of Culture. It needed to be cool and contemporary as well as referencing India’s rich cultural heritage. We were drawn to the idea of performance and dance as it encompasses different people and traditions that make India such a diverse and unique country.”

Notes to Editor

For more information about UK/India 2017 visit:www.britishcouncil.in

 For more information about the British Council contact

Aditi Hindwan | aditi.hindwan@in.britishcouncil.org| 8377 0014 50

National Head – Press and Media, India | British Council Division | British High Commission

About UK/India 2017
UK/India2017 is a year-long celebration of the long-standing relationship between India and the UK, which will see a vast programme of cultural exchange and activity take place in cities across both countries. Working with a huge number of partners and institutions, the British Council is developing a programme of cultural activity which will connect and inspire people in both countries; and strengthen and celebrate the UK and India’s cultural ties. For more information on UK/India 2017 please visit www.britishcouncil.in

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. Using the UK’s cultural resources we make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. The majority of our income is raised delivering a range of projects and contracts in English teaching and examinations, education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. Eighteen per cent of our funding is received from the UK government.