The South Bank Centre is celebrating contemporary dance, music, theatre, design, fashion, art and literature that links the UK and the Indian subcontinent in the sixth annual festival Alchemy with events and art installations across the buildings and external terraces. The art installations include graphic art, photography and lotus flowers which pulse in response to visitors’ heartbeats.
The colourful installation Pother Golpo graphically presents a typical Bangladeshi street scene with buildings, street furniture, cars, bikes and local people designed by three graphic novelists Karrie Fransman from the UK and Syed Rashad Imam Tanmoy and Asifur Rahman from Bangladesh who invoke the colour, noise, contradictions and vibrancy of Bangladeshi cities today. They even include themselves in the work which acts as the stage scenery for live events
In large photographs hanging across the side of the foyer, photographers Amit and Naroop pay tribute to British Sikh men and how they have integrated with British life while maintaining their identity in The Singh Project. The portraits were taken over a year in their studio and reflect on how Sikh men occupy a full range of professions and occupations in modern Britain, while adapting and interpreting the Sikh traditions including their recognisable identity of the turban and the beard.
Located between these the two installations in a lower part of the foyer is Pulse and Bloom – an interactive art installation created by artist Shilo Shiv Suleman, architect Saba Ghole, neuroscientist Rohan Dixit, metal sculptor Heather Stewart and electronics expert Luke Iseman which consists of giant lotuses, each of which has pulse sensors which, when pressed by one or two visitors, translate their heartbeats into pulsing LED lights illuminating the stem and petals in a rhythmic pattern. As the stem pulses with two heartbeats, they start to beat together in synchronisation.
Three of several different art works in a variety of media which are included in Alchemy’s programme, intertwined with music, dance, theatre, food and other activities as part of this rich celebration of the ongoing and developing cultural relationship between the Indian subcontinent and the UK.