New Delhi, Oct 3: Blending Indian sensibilities with Australian artistry will feature in the second edition of Australian cultural festivities – Oz Fest – forging collaborations with local artists and musicians to promote long-lasting cultural exchanges.
“The idea is to promote cultural exchanges and seek long term partnerships. We began on a very encouraging note last year, and hope this year too we reach out to more Indian audience,” Australian Deputy High Commissioner Bernard Philip told IANS at a preview of the festival that begins Oct 9.
“There are some new additions like fashion this year, and many collaborations that seek to bring the two cultures together and do some real exchange of music, fashion, and much more,” he added.
The four-month-long festival will begin with Australian designers showcasing at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week.
Sydney-based designer duo Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales of label Romance Was Born have collaborated with Varanasi silk weavers, while cricketer Brett Lee will launch his new scarf line produced in collaboration with Panchachuli Women Weavers and Woolmark of Kumaon in Uttarakhand.
Those who witnessed the inaugural fest will miss the grandeur in second edition, but Philip says the idea is to grow slowly and sustain the festival.
“It is essential to sustain it and build an audience. The more we focus on getting good artistes from the two nations together,the more we will be able to grow,” he added.
The festival will travel to cities like Jaipur, Mumbai, Pune, Jodhpur, Kolkata, Chennai, among others, also making its presence felt at Rajasthan International Folk Festival(RIFF) in Jodhpur and the Mumbai Film Festival with “The Rocket”, while Australian author Jack Turner will participate in the Jaipur Literature Festival.
Like last year, the RAW Comedy Competition is one of its highlight this year as well.
Though it is difficult for many to understand heavy Australian accent, Philip pointed out the organisers ensure Australian participants are devoid of it, and can be understood by Indian audiences.
“Our sense of humour is dry,” he said, adding the stand-up comedy act was received well by the audiences.
Australian Masterchef judge Gary Mehigan will be building on relationships established during the first edition. He will be hosting food events in Chennai and Mumbai.
Another interesting collaboration will come from Australian bands who will collaborate with Indian songwriters in Mumbai to produce new tracks.