Foreign & Local Artists Dedicate Shaktipur, a new lakeside incubator for creative global artistic exchange and ecological consciousness. Renowned local and foreign artists gathered to celebrate three distinctive milestones in Udaipur’s Creative City evolution. First was the dramatic finale of Vanaver Caravan’s third triumphant Udaipur visit; second was inauguration of Shakti Caravan, a new international artistic vehicle to spread eco-arts education; and finally the dedication of Shaktipur, an envisioned organic eco-park and global performance & body arts education centre.
Vanaver Caravan: Saturday night New York’s celebrated world dance & music ensemble, Vanaver Caravan had just completed their 3rd biannual Udaipur visit teaching, sharing and co-creating with classes organized by Bharat Verma’s Heartbeators, Madhu Sareen’s women’s Rotary network; Shikshantar/Swaraj University, Sensei Raj Menaria’s Martial Arts Academy, and Big Medicine Charitable Trust (BMCT). VC choreographed the Sunday performance as a gift to their Udaipur artist-activist friends and the city; and following Mewar’s inclusive history, their program included all age groups, classes and communities. It also featured inspiring audience interactive pieces ranging from Chinese body-spirit arts and American eco-troubadour wisdom to tap, drum & body percussion virtuosity as well as a creative reenactment of the Mahabharata’s “Yudhisthira and the Lake” eco-fable with original Rajasthani themed music.
The VC all-star troupe was led by co-founders Livia & Bill Vanaver, Miranda ten Broeke, Joel Hanna and Samantha & Brian Lawton. Supporting local stars included performance poet Ashok Jain Manthan, young tabla adepts Shahan & Shifan Khan, sarangi master Vijay Kumar Dhandla, master flutist Dinesh Baul, tabla wizard Wassim Ahmed Jaipuri, Pushkar nagara legend Gotto Solanke and Bharat Verma’s core Heartbeator team. Shakti Caravan: Besides innovative artistry, the VC visits have now birthed Shakti Caravan, a new international engaged artists’ collective co-founded by Vanaver Caravan artists and Udaipur’s Big Medicine Charitable Trust. Warmly endorsed by the Mahatma’s grandson Arun Gandhi as a vital antidote to hate, violence and discrimination, Shakti Caravan’s mission is to use artistic energy to reconnect the modern world to our essential interdependence, creativity, and indebtedness to Nature.
Shakti Caravan members are already working on programs here to advance arts-in-education, women’s self-defense, cross-cultural choreography, and environmental healing, especially with regard to lake protection and organic farming. They will also be organizing Udaipur music/dance school residencies and performance workshops as well as cultural exchanges and study abroad opportunities for Rajasthani artists.
Shaktipur: Cytex Hotels donated their lakeside organic farm at Naga Nagri’s Maharaja Ghat as the event venue, and they have agreed to work with Shakti Caravan and BMCT to co-develop the site as “Shaktipur”, a model healing, greening, creative energy center. Initial plans visualize an organic eco-park, global artists’ residency complex, and eco-artistic performance & seminar centre.
Students, schools and arts & ecology groups interested in future programs and ongoing collaborations are encouraged to contact BMCT founder trustee Rita Dixit-Kubiak for more information.