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Art festival with German touch drives home water conservation message

Megha Sriram Dalton performed folk music from Jharkhand

There is no better way to convey a message and create awareness than varied forms of art and performances. This was very effectively used during a two-day festival which focused its attention on water and its conservation.

Titled “Water for All, All for Water”, the event was organised by Viva con Agua India and Welthungerhilfe India, and was hosted in partnership with Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan in New Delhi.

The two days witnessed the coming together of art, authors, books, conversations, dance, food, music, poetry, puppetry, and theatre, all of which talked about one of the world’s most precious and scarce resources – water.

The event took off with a keynote address by Philipp Ackermann, the German Ambassador to India and Bhutan, which was followed by a riveting conversation between Rajendra Singh, Ramon Magsaysay Awardee and Waterman of India, Sanjay Singh, water conservationist, and Yogesh Kumar, academic and social worker.

Making a pertinent point, Rajendra Singh said the need of the hour is a sense of responsibility and love towards Mother Nature to prevent the disastrous impact of climate change. “Once we start loving nature and the land with a sense of responsibility, it’ll give back the love and benefit humankind,” he said.

Ditti and Keon
Ditti and Keon performing ‘Rain is coming’

Sanjay Singh stressed on the need to create awareness and spread it as the key to conserve water.

To provide a lighter touch to the proceedings, a series of performances were presented. These included Jharkhand folk music by Megha Sriram Dalton and songs by MC Freezak and MC Akshay Tashan. While being entertaining, these performances talked about water and the life it sustains.

In the evening a riveting and informative discussion was held on innovation and activism, and how young leaders are bracing to the climate realities in India. The participants included Snehal Verma, Director and Co-founder of NatureDot; Babita Rajpoot, Community Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) leader; Poornima Sukumar, artist and founder of Aravani Art Project; and Prerna Prasad, a social entrepreneur. The discussion was moderated by Mandakini Gahlot, a filmmaker.

The proceedings of the first day came to an end with the opening of “Jal Jeevan” art exhibition which featured works by Aashti Miller, Anpu Varkey, Anuj Medhavi, Ayush Mishra, Krishna Chari, Krishna Nayak, Mari Pavanelli, Nalini Balakumar, Namrata Kumar, Christine Brey, Josephine Sagna, Nila Nandi, Ribhu Chatterjee, Sourav Karmakar, Sudiksha Singh Rathore, and Yogesh Rana.

There was an interactive session titled “Dialogue – Towards a Sustainable Future – Changing Community Behaviour through Arts, Music & Sports”. It featured Mari Pavanelli, a renowned Brazilian visual artist; Sunayana Wadhawan from One Drop Foundation; Anpu Varkey, a well-known Indian visual artist; and Aparna Lall from WASH.

To engage the audience which included several children, a series of cultural programmes were presented. These included staging of the Hindi play “Duniya Sabki” by Aagaaz Theatre; humorous poetry by Inder Sahani; story telling by Manpreet Singh Mann, and rendering of poetry by Sujata Mottha, Paakhi, and Ravie Solanky.

There was a puppet show on water by Katkatha Puppet Trust. The festival ended with a B-Boy Dance by Shivshakti Group, Rap by members of Khirki17; and an act by Ditty and Keno titled “Rain Is Coming”.