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"India is the cradle of the human race... " - Mark Twain
Mehndi! Masti! 2006
Mehndi! Masti! 2006 (M!M!M!)
was a huge success at the Exhibition Place Bandshell Park and
Better Living Centre from July 26th to July 30th,
showcased the best in contemporary and traditional South
Asian culture from Canada and across the globe!
Masala! Mehndi! Masti! highlights:
new to M!M!M! was
'The Bangladeshi Culture Show'. This wonderful ensemble of
over 40 artists presented songs from Bangladesh (Classical, Semi
Classical, Folk and Modern). The show was interspersed with dances
and choreography leaving the audience enlightened about their
culture. Priya offered
a unique blend of Pop and modern R&B highlighted by her
soulful vocals which the audience received with great enthusiasm.
The 'SAAE Seminar: How
Does A Desi Artist Reach The Mainstream', was an excellent
opportunity for all to discuss the realities of the mainstream
music industry included leading experts on the panel. This was
produced Vikas Kohli (FatLabs).
energy performances by winners of the South
Asian Alliance Culture Show included University of Toronto and
York University. The cheering echoed through the festival site
drawing in a crowd dedicated to their performance. Dedication was
showed by all of our festival attendees through the heavy
short-term rainfall through our one of a kind Kathakali
dance performance. The audience took quick shelter only to
join our all popular 'Dandia
Dhamaka 2006' immediately after it ceased. The wet and sloshy
grass didn’t deter anyone from joining in.
The exquisite Tushar Unadkat’s Photography Exhibit touched the hearts of many in understanding his theme of ‘Home Away from Homeland’, concerned with exhibiting the experience of various generations of Indians living abroad who try to retain aspects of the life they remember before leaving India. The three day exhibition was joined by “Five Yards of my Soul”: (Interactive, onsite artist workshops in textile art) An onsite textile art project especially designed for Masala! Mehndi! Masti! 2006. The artists, Mona Kamal, Susan Anderson, Shawn Grey and Raf Zawistowski, all engaged the audience with their skill and artistic talent developing their art on Saris, 4 gorgeous sari’s which were sold in a silent auction. The visual arts component was curated by Asma Arshad.
Social Issues Seminars:
intellectual horizons with the Chillin'
in Your Brown Skin Collective, comprising of four
ethno-specific community based organizations. The Council of
Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA), The Alliance for South
Asian AIDS Prevention (ASAP), The South Asian Women's Centre (SAWC)
and The South Asian Legal Clinic (SALCO) presented a series of
panel talks/activities to raise the profile of social justice
issues within the South Asian community. Seminar discussion topics
included The Changing Face
Of Sex In Film And Music, Improving Access To Justice, The
Children’s Movement Against Child Abuse, Identity and Race, and
Asian Voices Through Image.
NATURAL HEALTH PRACTICES:
On July 29-30 seminars and workshops ran throughout the day. Noted Yoga practitioners: Sarita and Shiv Sud hilariously presenting Laughter Yoga Club and Puja Amin and Sonia Dhillon featured with Yoga lessons and workshops.
Theatre programming at this year’s festival was the biggest challenge and with a venue not geared to accommodate theatre programming appropriately, it did pose some problems with sound and staging of the readings and performances in the outdoor venue.
The fifth annual South Asian Theatre Festival featured something new to M!M!M! Youth Workshop Productions by Maya Theatre presented for the first time Gorilla Theatre - an opportunity for the young artists to present their works, drawing in crowds from passer byers. It was free, outdoors, and it was high energy. New Playwrights, writers and novelists by Dalbir Singh, Anar Ali and Dr. Sherry Duggal were a real treat to eager ears. Indigenous Words presented by Sawitri Theatre Group created quite the scene expressing themselves through the play “Savita Weds Satish“. This year at M!M!M! spoken word was presented by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Muslim Rizvi, Sherry Duggal, and Sheniz Janmohamed.
Comedians Ali Rizvi and New Zealander Tarun Mohanbhai had everyone laughing as they delved deep in to their lives to share hilarious experiences with the audiences.
Over 60 hard working volunteers directed festival attendees to events and helped keep the festival alive with their smiling faces seen all across the festival grounds. Truly the backbone of the festival, this team worked tirelessly to keep things in order.
RESTAURANT and BAZAAR: Rogers Masala! Mehndi! Masti! Many enjoyed all types of culinary delights that left them coming back to try more – The bazaar featured vendors selling handicrafts, South Asian fashions and other special cultural products at incredible prices.
Rogers Masala! Mehndi! Masti! 2006 was co-presented by TD Canada Trust and OMNI Diversity TV. The festival is produced by Satya Arts Association and was generously supported by Magic Feet Canada, Heritage Canada, British Council and Gold Sponsors State Farm Insurance.
[Photos by: Todd Nichol]