Explore India’s art and culture with IndiaFest, presented by UAB’s Alys Stephens Center

From Holi celebrations to lectures and films, and silk screening workshops to performances by Grammy-nominated artists including Anoushka Shankar and Niyaz featuring Azam Ali, IndiaFest offers a wealth of opportunities in late March and April to experience Indian culture.

IndiaFest, a more than month-long celebration honoring Birmingham’s vibrant Indian culture, will feature events across the University of Alabama at Birmingham campus and throughout the city.

UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center is collaborating with the College of Arts and SciencesAbroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts and Department of Art and Art History, as well as art and culture partners in the Birmingham community, including the Birmingham Museum of Art. From Holi celebrations to lectures and films, and silk screening workshops to performances by Grammy-nominated artists including Anoushka Shankar and Niyaz featuring Azam Ali, IndiaFest offers a wealth of opportunities in late March and April to experience Indian culture. Explore the full IndiaFest calendar, including the Alabama Asian Culture and Food Festival and sand mandala ceremonies and creation, at AlysStephens.org/IndiaFest.

day shall dawn"Jago Hua Savera (Day Shall Dawn)"The festival kicks off Saturday, March 11, with a Holi celebration at the BMA and a Holi dinner at Taj India. IndiaFest is sponsored by Regions.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, the Department of Art and Art History opens its IndiaFest events with a free screening of “Jago Hua Savera (Day Shall Dawn),” by A.J. Kardar, 1958, in AEIVA. This Pakistani film, the story of a fisherman who dreams of owning his own boat on the Meghna River in Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan), was screened at the 2008 New York Film Festival to celebrate its 50th anniversary. It was selected for the Cannes Classics section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

Enjoy Community Yoga: Vinyasa Flow, presented by the Alys Stephens Center in the greenspace behind the center led by Mollie Erikson, from 5:30-7 p.m. Monday, April 3. A second Community Yoga: Ashtanga Yoga event, led by Heather Vanchina, is set for 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 10; a third, “Community Yoga: Power Vinyasa Flow,” led by UAB’s own Shawn Galin is set for 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 24. Bring a mat or towel for these free events.

yoga indiafest 2017Community YogaAt 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, the DAAH presents a free screening of “Queen” in AEIVA. Rani is set for her wedding when the groom calls it off; her honeymoon tickets to Paris and Amsterdam are still booked, so she embarks on a quirky journey of self-discovery that gives her the confidence to take control of her own life. Directed and written by Vikas Bahl and with the star talents of actress Kangan Ranaut, this spirited 2014 feature liberates the traditional limitations of being a young woman in Delhi, India.

Next is a DAAH Pop-up Studio, Silkscreen Traditional Indian Motifs, at 2 p.m. Friday, April 7, in AEIVA. Silk screening is one of the oldest methods of reproducing multiple copies of words and images. Students will learn about the process of silk screen printing and be able to print their own three-colored takeaway print of traditional Indian motifs. No experience necessary, and all materials are supplied, $5 fee. Registration, required, is available online.

The DAAH and BMA will present “Testing Boundaries: Women Artists in India and Pakistan Today,” a lecture by Mary-Ann Milford-Lutzker, Ph.D., professor of Asian art history at Mills College. Set for 6 p.m. Saturday, April 8, this free lecture will take place in the BMA’s Steiner Auditorium.

queenFree screening of “Queen” Bring the family and enjoy a free Indian Cultural Family Fun Fest at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 9, at AEIVA and the Alys Stephens Center. Events include visual arts projects for children, Indian mandala coloring for all ages, Indian rangoli making in the Art Plaza, a Pop-up Studio with traditional block printing ($5 fee and advance registration required), Uma Srivastava’s “Hindu Culture Mythbusters” game, a film screening of “Sita Sings the Blues” at 3:10 p.m., a violin and tabla demo by Ajay Patel, and an Indian dance demo, food trucks and more.

That evening, UAB’s Alys Stephens Center will present Grammy Award-winning sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar, 7 p.m. Sunday, April 9. Shankar, an Alys Stephens Center favorite, is a singular figure in the Indian classical and progressive world music scenes. Deeply rooted in the Indian classical music tradition, Shankar studied under her father and guru, the late Ravi Shankar, and made her professional debut at the age of 13. At 20 she became the first Indian female and youngest-ever Grammy Award nominee in the World Music category. Tickets start at $38; tickets are $10 off for ASC members. UAB students and faculty may purchase $25 tickets; a limited number are available. All UAB students, faculty and staff receive a 20 percent discount on single tickets. Call 205-975-2787 or visit www.AlysStephens.org.

the master“Sahib Bibi aur Ghulum (The Master, the Wife and the Slave)”At 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 11, UAB DAAH will present the film “Sahib Bibi aur Ghulum (The Master, the Wife and the Slave),” based on a Bengali novel, “Shaheb Bibi Golam” by Bimal Mitra. This 1962 Indian Hindi film produced by Guru Dutt and directed by Abrar Alvi explores a platonic friendship between a beautiful, lonely wife (Bibi) of an aristocrat (Sahib) and a career-driven, low-income part-time servant (Ghulam).

Alys Stephens Center’s ArtPlay will present an Indian dance workshop at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 12. Walks-ins are welcome, or call 205-975-4769 to make a reservation. The fee is $5.

On Thursday, April 13, the DAAH will present a free lecture, “India Adorns the World: Jewelry Traditions of India and their Western Followers,” by Avani Patel, jewelry designer and GIA graduate gemologist, and UAB Associate Professor of Art History Cathleen Cummings, Ph.D. A wine and cheese reception is planned at 5:30 p.m., with the lecture at 6:15, in AEIVA.

anoushkaSitar player and composer Anoushka ShankarUAB’s Indian Cultural Association will present an International Mentors Coffee Hour at 11:30 a.m. Friday, April 14, at UAB’s Smolian International House. Come enjoy food, henna art, informational tables hosted by student organizations and a dance demonstration. That evening from 5:30-7:30 p.m., Alys Stephens Center’s ArtPlay will host an adult coloring night featuring mandalas, with refreshments.

At 5 p.m. Saturday, April 15, UAB’s Asian American Organization will present Taste of India,

the first and only Bollywood fusion/Bhangra dance competition in Alabama. Collegiate Bollywood fusion and Bhangra dance teams from all over the United States will come to compete for a cash prize. The event is free and open to everyone. See the full list of performers online.

At 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 18, the UAB DAAH will screen “A Bristol Pilgrimage – In Search of Raja Ram Mohun Roy,” by Aniruddha Sanyal, 2012, in the Humanities Building, Room 312. Raja Ram Mohan Roy (May 22, 1772-Sept. 27, 1833) was the founder of the Brahmo Sabha movement in 1828, which engendered the Brahmo Samaj, an influential socio-religious reform movement. His influence was apparent in the fields of politics, public administration and education, as well as religion.

rajahRaja Ram Mohun RoyHe was known for his efforts to establish the abolishment of the practice of sati, the Hindu funeral practice in which the widow was compelled to sacrifice herself in her husband’s funeral pyre in some parts of Bengal. This documentary delves into the last few weeks of Ram Mohan Roy’s life in England. 

On April 18, from 6-9 p.m., the Birmingham Committee on Foreign Relations will host the consul general of India, the Honorable Nagesh Singh, to speak on “India and U.S. Partnership: Opportunities for Strategic Engagement” at The Club. Tickets are $50. Purchase tickets online.

Alys Stephens Center will present Niyaz featuring Azam Ali in a free performance open to the community at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 20, in its Sirote Theatre. Niyaz has become an evolutionary force in contemporary Middle Eastern music by seamlessly blending medieval Sufi poetry and folk songs from the duo’s native Iran and surrounding Persian Gulf countries with rich acoustic instrumentation and state-of-the-art modern electronics. The duo’s three best-selling albums have debuted at No. 1 on iTunes and garnered the band an incredible amount of media attention. Don’t miss this immersive multimedia experience as Niyaz presents the “The Fourth Light Project.” Call 205-975-2787 or visit www.AlysStephens.org.

A free UAB Holi “Festival of Colors” celebration will close IndiaFest celebrations. The event is set for 1 p.m. Sunday, April 24, on the UAB Campus Green, presented by UAB’s Indian Cultural Association.