Presenting the Purvai Festival at An Lanntair

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A celebration of South Asian Arts will take place at An Lanntair arts centre in Stornoway between August 22 and September 3rd

The Purvai Festival was originally inspired by the life and collection of Colonel Colin Mackenzie from Stornoway (1754 -1821) who mapped India.

The Purvai project embraces traditional and contemporary art, music, textiles, literature, history and culture, charting areas of shared humanity between Gaelic culture and the Indian sub-continent.

This year’s festival will have live performances, music and art workshops for children and families as well as exhibitions, artists’ talks and a full schools’ programme of activities.

Purvai Curator Catherine Maclean said: “This year we are really happy to see the programme of activities grow. Over the course of the last year the Purvai project has developed, with more creative partners getting involved from across the UK and India.

“It’s really encouraging to see the raised awareness in Stornoway of the work and collection of Colin Mackenzie. Also increasing is the awareness and interest of the personal stories, both past and present of people’s journeys between the Hebrides and South Asia.

“The other major element is the Mackenzie Collection Exhibition which An Lanntair and Museum nan Eilean are developing in partnership to bring to Stornoway in 2017.

“The exhibition will see items on loan from the British Museum, The British Library and the Victoria and Albert Museum curated together to form the first ever exclusively Mackenzie Collection exhibition.

“As the project develops we hope it will inspire our audiences to come along and get involved celebrating our unique connection with South Asian arts.

“Whether it’s a classical performance a live DJ set, a drumming workshop or a Bollywood movie; it’s a diverse programme with experiences for all ages. ”

The Purvai 2016 programme includes:

Roopa Panesar: Roopa Panesar is one of the finest female sitarist to emerge out of the music scene in the UK. Roopa will be accompanied on Tabla by Dalbir Singh Rattan another gifted player and virtuoso of the Benares Gharana.

Aziz Ibrahim and Dalbir Singh Rattan: The team behind Party at the Pictures - An Lanntair’s celebration of film and music that varies in theme from event to event - will collaborate with Purvai for a spectacular one-off show. Audiences can expect a night of classic Bollywood film, word-class live music from Aziz Ibrahim and Dalbir Singh, and a DJ set that fuses Bollywood tunes with contemporary Western music.

Fòcas India & Lensational Photography Exhibition: Photographic works by young girls and women taken in collaboration with professional photographers in Chennai, South India.

Purvai Family Festival day: A day full of fun activities for all the family including drumming workshops, food stalls, art classes and live music.

From Lahore to Lewis & Harris: Trading Stories: Presented in partnership by Edinburgh International Book Festival’s Booked programme and Highlight Arts. Storytellers Shazea Quraishi and Ian Stephen and illustrators Mehreen Fatima and Kate Leiper are joined by musicians Sara Kasmi and Sarah Hayes to showcase the results of a collaborative project bringing artists from Pakistan and Scotland together to create new poetry, stories and music.

Roland Gulliver, Associate Director of Edinburgh International Book Festival said: “We are delighted to be presenting From Lahore to Lewis and Harris: Scotland and Pakistan Trading Stories at Purvai 2016.

“This is the exciting final instalment of a very special exchange project. Since February 2015, authors and artists have crossed continents, trading stories from Scotland to Pakistan, and thanks to our brilliant partnership with Highlight Arts and the support of the British Council, landing now in Lewis and Harris.

“These events are part of our Booked! programme which sees Edinburgh International Book Festival, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, on the road around Scotland, throughout the year.”

For more details and to book tickets for events please visit the website: at or by phone on 01851 70 8480.