Cultural

As a cradle and meeting place of world religions, India has a wealth of cultural traditions, ranging from tribal culture (artistic skills, dance and song) to the aboriginal inhabitants (Adivasis) to the age-old Hindu culture to the more recent influences of the Moghuls and the British.

Culture and religion are closely interwoven in India, and this is reflected in all aspects of daily life. But at the same time, India is quickly assimilating present-day influences (such as the fusion between Flamenco and traditional Indian music or the Punjabi Underground). The modern art scene is flourishing just as much as Bollywood, the Indian film industry, which, though inspired by Hollywood, is still uniquely authentic.

Leuven’s cultural landscape is rich and varied. Major players include the 30CC cultural centre, the STUK arts centre, KUnST Leuven vzw, Het Depot (music centre), OPEK (centre for performing arts) and M-Museum Leuven. The Treasury of St. Peter’s and the Centre for Religious Art and Culture in the Park Abbey round out this brief summary of the city’s rich tradition in arts and culture.

Past cooperation between India and Leuven includes the realm of cultural heritage. Since 1984, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has played a key role in the preservation and sustainable development of India’s unique cultural diversity. The Belgian chapter of INTACH is located in Leuven. INTACH Belgium lends (financial and other) support to the project of the Lost Gardens of Khajuraho. This project combines the restoration of cultural heritage with sustainable agriculture, tourism and development.

The europalia.india Festival is the perfect opportunity to organise various Indian cultural events, which include concerts as well as the exhibitions entitled Tempels, Forten & Paleizen (The splendor of India's architectural heritage) and Beelden van een Vergeten Ontmoeting (Images of a forgotten meeting 1850-1950). In addition, the independent Cinema Zed art cinema is organising a mini-festival showcasing Indian films.

One of the most renowned cultural institutions in Flanders, the Davidsfonds, is also located in Leuven. On the occasion of Europalia India, the Davidsfonds will be organising activities in Leuven, including a truly “Incredible !ndia” day on 7 December 2013.

Future plans of India House Leuven include offering a cultural programme with Indian music, exhibitions and films, receiving artists-in-residence to coincide with the cultural season, and serving as a platform and meeting place for all arts, heritage and culture organisations based in Leuven.