Bringing exhibitions and workshops to Chennai, the Auroville Festival reintroduces us to its multicultural society
None of us are strangers to Auroville. After all, a quick visit to the township is part of many a weekend spent in Pondicherry. However, the organisers of the Auroville Festival, which begins in the city on March 1 (and goes on till April 12) think otherwise. “Since it is a working township, it is difficult to see the life there. This is a way of reintroducing ourselves. Moreover, there are a lot of interactions between Auroville and Chennai that the public is not aware of—like how one of our initiatives, WasteLess, has introduced a garbology course in eight Kendriya Vidyalayas schools in the city,” says Krishna Devanandan, one of the organisers.
The festival encompasses several events—from exhibitions, seminars and workshops to markets and presentations—spread across several venues. “Around 40 artists will be showcasing their works across nine galleries, including Lalit Kala Akademi, Apparao Galleries and Art World,” says Marco Feira, a painter and curator. “The uniqueness of their work is that they explore ideas, materials and expressions but with a global sensibility as they are from all over the world.”
Another key event will be the ethical market (at Amethyst, March 5-7), which will showcase 16 Aurovillean units. “While some of them, like Wellpaper and Matrigold are familiar to many, almost 70 per cent will be new to Chennaiites,” admits Tejaswini Mistri-Kapoor, an architect and the force behind Woodscape, which designs organic wooden furniture. “Look out for Light Fish, which makes 100 per cent recyclable lighting solutions, products from Sedab, our rural development programme, and also our in-house publications,” Kapoor adds. Other highlights include a choir concert (March 7, at Sir Mutha Hall, from 7.30 pm), the Giftival at ReStore (March 14) and a tour of Auroville farms (March 18-21).
—Surya Praphulla Kumar