Meet Parvathi Baul

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Alliance française of Pondicherry has the pleasure to introduce you to Parvathi Baul, an exceptional woman, not only a famous singer and representative of Sufi art, but also an activist for art and culture. She will perform on the 16th of February at “Maison colombani” and in March during the International Women’s Theatre Festival that  she initiated with some friends and other artists  which will take place  in Pondicherry  from 11th until 15th  of March.

Parvathi Baul

Parvathi Baul

This festival hosts more than 30 artists of different nationalities and of course French representatives. Organized by Aurodhan Gallery, and supported by the Alliance française of Pondicherry, Auroville and by the Ashram this Festival will lead to cultural performances as well as discussions  and workshops with artists.
We met Parvathi Baul and asked her the following questions.

Why did you organize International women’s Theatre  Festival  ?
I started as a Baul artist in 2000 and since then I have participated in many festivals all over the world.  I was once invited to Denmark for the “Transit festival” which was organized by women artists from different artistic fields, viz., writers, filmmakers, actresses, singers etc. I have spent ten days participating in different workshops and performances.
I was very much impressed by the facility of these women in expressing themselves, in talking about their art, and in performing freely. In the Baul society, eventhough women and men are considered equal, I found myself in trouble; I had difficulties as a woman to make my voice heard. My work was seen in a controversial way because I had crossed the social borders of my family. So these fighting international women artists had inspired me and I was convinced that I had to do it in India, one day.
I am sure that this will help to approach gender issues in a different manner. I am not doing it only for women because I think a festival of this kind will be useful for men too. The artists are warriors with diamond sword and I hope they will carry out the message to express freely through art.

Why did you choose Pondicherry?
Pondicherry is the perfect place for this first festival. The mixture of communities as Auroville, Ashram and others has a unique understanding of freedom through art. Aurobindo has been an inspiration for the people in India. He was a revolutionary thinker in terms of art and the presence of Mother strengthened this particular aspect.
In creating Auroville, Mother had a vision of promoting alternative ways in arts and to develop freedom and I wanted to follow this vision. When I spoke to all the other artists who would be performing in the festival that Pondichery would be the welcoming city they were all impressed, honored and happy to be in such a place.  The festival would bring in a new, imaginative and fresh concept suitable for the Pondicherry spirit. On a personal note, I have already experienced the Pondicherry audience and would be extremely happy to have a taste of such a unique city and a responsive crowd. And I am sure that Pondicherry will inspire the other artists too.

What do you expect of the Festival, which is not all about performances & shows, but of workshop, debates, and talks?
The artists selected to perform in this festival have a long professional experience and this generation has a lot to transmit to the new generation. My aim was to create a bridge between artists where they could transmit their passion, hope and freedom.

We know at Alliance, how difficult is to bring international artist together, the sum of effort you deployed is tremendous. Why such an investment?
For the love of the art… I am aware of the importance to create space for meetings and dialogue, an intimate space, an informal space where everybody can share and express freely. I am convinced that this will help not only the artists but the audience as well. I want others to have the same experience that I have had in Denmark.

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Directeur de publication : Délégation Générale de la Fondation Alliance Française en Inde et au Népal

Rédacteur en chef : Laurent Elisio Bordier

Rédacteur/Coordinateur national : Siddharth Bhatt

Rédacteurs, contributeurs : Guillaume, Abhirami, Alexandre, Chintan, Cléa, David, Eleonore, Elie, Kanika, Karine, Nita, Thomas, Malvika, Marie-Joëlle, Meera, Mayuri, Mitushi, Alice, Prutha, Romain, Ritika, Manas, Supriya ...