Learn Bollywood dancing, watch one of its most spectacular films, and make Indian crafts during “Inspired by India: A Family Celebration” at the Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Galleries on Saturday, August 11, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The free event is part of the Sackler’s new exhibition “Worlds within Worlds: Imperial Paintings from India and Iran”, on view now through September 16.
The celebration also honors India’s Independence Day August 15. Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao will lead a traditional lamp-lighting ceremony at the August 11 festival at noon.
The event’s activities also include watching classical Kathak dancing and rice flour painting, listening to traditional Indian flute music, making a colorful Rakhi bracelet, and enjoying a curator-led tour of “Worlds within Worlds”.
Highlights include: (for a schedule and description of all activities, click here.)
- Learn Bollywood dancing 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Performer Bhim Dahal teaches the energetic, invigorating dance sequences seen in musical films from Mumbai, the Hollywood of India.
- Rangoli Indian rice flour art 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Watch local Indian women use rice powder to create complex images on the ground. In India, women paint simpler designs on their doorstep each morning, and create more complex varieties at weddings and other celebrations.
- Make a Rakhi bracelet 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Design and create a colorful Rakhi bracelet, a symbol for protection and well-during.
- Indian classical music 12:15 p.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m.
Listen to John Wubbenhorst on the flute, and Hrishikesh Dharam on the tabla.
- Kathak classical dance 1 p.m.
Watch dances from the 17th and 18th century Mughal courts, performed by Prashant Shah and Prachi Dalal, who appeared at the first Hindu Festival of Lights (Diwali) at the White House in 2003.
- Bollywood epic film “Mughal-e-Azam” 5:30 p.m.
This three-hour classic is a wow of a Bollywood spectacle. The dance sequence is in a palace made of glass, and the battle scene has 8,000 soldiers, 4,000 horses, and 2,000 camels.
Your appetite for all things Indian will be whetted. Indian cuisine will be available for purchase.
“Worlds within Worlds: Imperial Paintings from India and Iran” presents 50 of these finest artworks from the Freer and the Sackler, which together form one of the world’s most important collections of Mughal and Persian painting.
India’s Mughal emperors reigned over a vast and wealthy empire that extended from Kabul through most of the South Asian subcontinent between the 16th and 19th century. The rulers were passionate about lavish manuscripts and paintings.
Between 1556 and 1650, the greatest patrons — the Mughal emperors Akbar, Jahangir (“World Seizer”), and Shah Jahan (“King of the World”) — formed grand workshops that nurtured India’s leading painters, calligraphers, and illuminators.
The “Worlds within Worlds” exhibit is a highlight of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery’s 25th anniversary celebration this year.
For more info: “Inspired by India: A Family Celebration”, free, August 11, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Freer and Sackler Galleries, www.asia.si.edu, in adjoining buildings on the National Mall, Freer Gallery of Art, 12th Street at Jefferson Drive, SW, and Sackler Gallery, 1050 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC, 202-633-4880.