Brisbane transforms into ‘Little India’

Brisbane’s eyes will be opened to the diversity of India this weekthrough the ENCOUNTERS: INDIA festival featuring more than 70 leading artists from India and Australia across 70 events.

Presented by Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, the festival was officially opened by Her Excellency Dr Penelope Wensley AC, Governor of Queensland and Mr Stuart McCosker, Chancellor Ms Leneen Forde AC and Vice Chancellor Professor Ian O’Connor on Monday 13 May.

ENCOUNTERS: INDIA will highlight traditional music, street bazaars, fine art, dawn ragas, cinema, fashion, debates, dance and masterclasses set to transform South Bank into a bustling parade of contemporary India, bringing to life the vibrant colours, tantalizing aromas and the unmistakable movement and sounds of its music styles.

Festival Highlights:

Beyond Bollywood

An all-ages free public concert, will take to the stage in the Courier-Mail Piazza for lovers and explorers of Indian culture. The line-up features Topology, the Sruthi Laya ensemble from South India, the Australian Art Orchestra, Queensland Youth Symphony Big Band and jazz students from the Queensland Conservatorium. From 7pm the surprises of Bollywood will emerge with a troupe of Indian singers and dancers, hosted by renowned Bollywood star Nicholas Brown. From 4pm till late, Saturday 18 May.

Indian Bazaar

The chaotic and riotous colour and sounds of a Mumbai market will be transported to Brisbane for the Indian Bazaar, set to transform the Cultural Forecourt of QPAC with dozens of stalls offering Indian food and crafts, fashion and henna painting, meditation and spiritual nourishment, as well as a dazzling array of music and dance. WHEN: 9am — 6pm, Saturday 18 May and 9am — 4pm, Sunday 19 May.

The Darbar Night Series

Five unforgettable experiences of music fit for a king, reminiscent of the great Moghul Emperors of India who entertained lavishly at their royal court, will feature each evening. These concerts will explore an aspect of music from the vantage points of Indian traditions and Western culture — rhythm (Aneesh Pradhan); voice (Patricia Rozario); drone (Rohan de Saram); ensemble (Shubha Mudgal and Guru Kaaraikkudi Mani); and the guru (a celebration of Peggy Glanville-Hicks). From 7.30pm each weeknight (May 13 — 17).

The Diaspora Twilight Series

Bringing to light aspects of Indian culture barely acknowledged in Lonely Planet guides, the Diaspora series hints at the manifold ways in which Indian culture has permeated into the West in the past 150 years or so. With ancient Vedic chants, live music and dance, Flamenco and jazz with tabla virtuoso Dheeraj Shrestha and a celebration of the centenary of the opening of the Royal Opera House in Mumbai. Held at 6pm each evening from May 13 — 17.

The Ties That Bind Us

The relationship between Australia and India will be explored in a two-day symposium covering cultural diplomacy; identity through film and television; Western concepts; musical interactions; and the rise of India as a superpower. Key participants will include John McCarthy AO (Chair of the Australia-India Council); Rory Medcalf (The Lowy Institute); Anupam Sharma (Bollywood director); Maxine Williamson (artistic director, Asia Pacific Screen Awards); and Aneesh Pradhan (one of India’s leading tabla players). Runs on Thursday 16 and Friday 17 May at Cinema A in GOMA.


The work of 15 women artists from Australia and India come together for an exhibition across three galleries at the Queensland College of Art Griffith University this May as the art installment of the festival. Artists include Pushpamala N., Sonia Khurana, Shambhavi Singh, Dhruvi Acharya (India) and Fiona Hall, Simone Eisler, Patt Hoffie, Kate Beynon, Laini Burton and Sangeeta Sandrasegar (Australia). At the Griffith University Art Gallery, the Project Gallery and the Webb Gallery — 226 Grey St, South Brisbane.