India takes center stage with a month of community activities celebrating the country’s arts and culture at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
IndiaFest is presented by UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center in collaboration with the College of Arts and Sciences’ Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts and Department of Art and Art History. Free events include film screenings, a dance competition, community yoga, crafts, lectures, a family day and an outdoor concert by Red Baraat, complete with food trucks, dancing and more. Explore the full IndiaFest calendar online at www.AlysStephens.org.
Sunday, March 25
The Department of Art and Art History will present a free screening of “Kadambari” (Suman Ghosh, 2015, 88 minutes), at 2 p.m. in the AEIVA. This film is a biopic about Kadambari Devi, who married Rabindranath Tagore’s elder brother. When Kadambari came to the Tagore household, Rabindranath was 7 and she was 9. Their relationship soon became wrought with complexities. This tale draws from the influence she had on Tagore’s works.
Saturday, March 31
Enjoy Taste of India, Alabama’s first and only bhangra and Bollywood fusion dance competition, at 5 p.m. in the Alys Stephens Center. UAB’s Asian American Organization will host collegiate dance teams from across the country to compete for a cash prize. Taj India will serve Indian food at the beginning of the show. AAO will also host Indian-Canadian rapper and songwriter Fateh Doe, at the Taste of India After-Party at Zydeco. Tickets to the after-party can be purchased online.
Sunday, April 1
The Department of Art and Art History will present a free screening of “Nil Battey Sannata (The New Classmate),” (Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, 2015, 100 minutes), at 2 p.m. in the AEIVA. “Nil Battey Sannata” is a story of Chanda, a domestic worker, and her 14-year-old daughter, Appu. Chanda is determined to educate her daughter, but Appu is not interested in studying. Chanda enrolls in school to encourage her daughter to complete her education. But competition challenges their relationship, creating distance between the two. In India, where one-third of girls drop out of school, this film highlights one mother’s empowered journey.
Monday, April 2, April 9, April 16 and April 23
Start the work week off right with free community yoga at the Alys Stephens Center the first four Mondays in April. Each week will feature a different yoga form, taught by a Birmingham-based yoga instructor. Bring a yoga mat or beach towel. Each class is from 5:30-7 p.m. on the Engel outdoor plaza. All levels of experience are welcome.
Monday, April 2: Community Yoga: Ashtanga Yoga, led by Heather Vanchina.
Monday, April 9: Community Yoga: Kundalini Yoga and Meditation for Prosperity and Abudance, led by Kewal Nam Kaur.
Monday, April 16: Community Yoga: Vinyasa Flow, led by Mollie Jackson Erickson.
Monday, April 23: Community Yoga Class: Power Vinyasa Flow, led by Shawn Galin.
Thursday, April 5
The Alys Stephens Center’s ArtPlay will present a free, all-ages mandala coloring night at 5:30 p.m., at the ArtPlay House. Call 205-975-4769.
Sunday, April 8
Associate Professor of Art History Cathleen Cummings, Ph.D., will give a free lecture on “The ‘Ubiquitous’ Sari: Between Tradition and Modernity” at 2 p.m., presented by the Department of Art and Art History in the AEIVA. The traditional female garment in much of South Asia, it is one of the oldest known items of clothing still in use and one of the most diverse of garments, with at least 30 regional styles and more than 80 recorded ways of wearing. Cummings will explore the range of visual, physical and conceptual manifestations of the sari, and the role it plays in negotiations of Indian womanhood.
Sunday, April 15
The Department of Art and Art History will present a free screening of “Fandry” (Nagraj Manjule, 2013, 101 minutes), at 2 p.m. in the AEIVA. Revered Marathi poet Manjule has struck a chord worldwide for this exceptional and riveting directorial debut, in the great dramatic tradition of forbidden love between lower-caste and upper-caste teenagers. Winner of a National Award, India, and Grand Jury Prize at the Mumbai International Film Festival.
Tuesday, April 17
The Birmingham Committee on Foreign Relations will host Alyssa Ayres, senior fellow for India, Pakistan and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations, to present “Our Time Has Come: How India is Making Its Place in the World.” The event is from 6-8:30 p.m., at The Club. Tickets are $50. Purchase tickets online.
Saturday, April 21
Bring the family and enjoy a free Indian Cultural Family Fun Fest beginning at 2 p.m. at AEIVA. Enjoy an afternoon of fun with activities including visual arts projects for children, Indian mandala coloring for all ages, Indian rangoli creation in the Art Plaza, and other activities celebrating Indian arts and culture. Presented by the AEIVA, Department of Art and Art History and Alys Stephens Center.
Thursday, April 26
Celebrate IndiaFest with this grand finale, a free outdoor dance party with New York City-based band Red Baraat. This concert event is for all ages, with dancing, food trucks including Eugene's Hot Chicken, a cash bar and more, outdoors on the Engel Plaza at UAB’s Alys Stephens Center. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., the festival will feature a Bhangra Beat dance lesson at 6 p.m. followed by the performance at 7 p.m. Red Baraat is known for whipping its crowd into a frenzy with an unprecedented, high-energy fusion of jazz, hip-hop beats, rock muscle, funky go-go and scalding hot bhangra. The horn section blares, percussionists pound, everybody shouts, and the group’s charismatic leader, Sunny Jain, holds the explosive songs together with rhythms from his dhol – the Indian double-headed drum played slung over the shoulder that provides bhangra with its frenetic heartbeat. NPR dubbed Red Baraat “The best party band in years.” Made possible by Dora and Sanjay Singh and the UAB School of Medicine.