Attend A Kolkata Festival Aiming To Reinvigorate The City's Artistic Landscape

Poster of #TakeTheCItyKolkata
Poster of #TakeTheCItyKolkataPickle Factory

The Pickle Factory is all about the live performance experience and the spaces that host them. It responds to the lack of infrastructure and support systems for performance in India. It comes out of a dire need to provide a home for dance and movement practice in a country that contains uncountable movement expressions. Their practice, discourse, and presentation are housed in spaces repurposed for the arts in Calcutta. The members,  associates, and founders of the team are a multidisciplinary and multifaceted family with several decades of experience working in the performing arts sector in India and abroad.

The Pickle Factory’s latest project, #TakeTheCityKolkata launched this November and will continue until February. The season plan is to invite people and imagine a space that can contain diverse thoughts, activities, experiments, and more that will add value to the artistic community of the city. The season’s theme is to reflect how we can re-enter spaces and bring people together for collective enjoyment of the arts and culture. The idea is to take the city—its spaces, imaginations, people, and histories and remold and reimagine it in the spirit of the city.

So far, they had a wall art project where various artists came and worked. The theme of the project was the celebration of the labor of the workers, who make Durga Puja possible. Yesterday,a wonderful performance piece called ‘Meepao’ by Manipur-based award-winning choreographer and performance artist, Surjit Nongmeikapam was performed at Behala Notun Dal. He works for Nachom Arts Foundation(NAF), an organization that seeks to promote contemporary dance in a traditional Manipuri setting. It was not a ticketed event and was based on a pay-as-you-like model. The idea behind Pickle Factory's latest venture is to make art accessible to all. As a result, the audience comprised a eclectic group of people from all age groups and backgrounds.

Wall art at Behal Notun Dol
Wall art at Behal Notun DolKritika Dey
A shot from Surjit Nongmeikapam's Meepao
A shot from Surjit Nongmeikapam's MeepaoKunal Chakraborty

Over the span of four months, there will be dialogues surrounding gender, inclusion, able-bodiedness, and modernity, held in schools, universities, and NGO grounds. There will also be workshops promoting local artists to train, explore and hone their craft, held in studios, rehearsal rooms, and cultural houses. Along with these, there will be repurposed spaces around the city, which will host a plethora of performances by renowned artists such as yesterday's performance.

The venue of the event for November is the local field in the Behal Notun Dal, where the Durga Pujo festival happens every year. It has been transformed into a temporary hub, reverberating with community spirit, bonhomie, sustainable installations and platform performances. The are also pop-up stalls of famous visual artists from around the city, where you can interact with them and buy their works. Having absorbed all the art around you, there are also tasty street food stalls around to satitae your taste buds.

I never expected that our local ground will be transformed into such a vibrant place. Pickle Factory has organised an inclusive event that has given the residents of Behala Notun Dol and people from all over the city the opportunity to see such wonderful artists perform.

Convener of Behala Nuton Dal, Sandipan Bannerjee

This festival will continue till February and you should definitely not miss it if you're in the city. To learn more about Pickle Factory, click here.