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Italy eyes culture connect with city

Italy is ready to bring ballet, opera, neo Dadaist art and maybe even pasta to Calcutta.

The embassy of Italy has announced that it will focus on Bengal, starting this year. Until now, it has organised most of its cultural programmes in New Delhi or Mumbai.

“Calcutta is a major cultural spot and we want to increase our presence there,” said the cultural head of the embassy, Cesare Bieller.

The first engagement will be at the Calcutta Book Fair. “We will showcase books on Italian art and culture, as well as Italian editions of books by Indian authors,” said Silvio Pentrella, the acting consul general of Italy in Calcutta.

Apart from Tagore, authors like Amitav Ghosh are popular in Italy, he added.

None of the books though will be for sale. Italian culture aficionados and language teachers will interact with visitors at the book fair stall.

Next in line is the Dadaumpop art exhibition at the Rabindranath Tagore Centre in ICCR on Ho Chi Minh Sarani from February 4 to 18. The exhibition will feature 27 young Italian artists.

Their works represent the Italian New-Pop school, which is distinguished by its use of unconventional media and materials. The theme is to exhibit the Dadaist influence, of the interwar years (the 1920s), on this art movement.

Cultural activities of the consulate general in Calcutta are expected to increase after the appointment of a new consul general in a couple of months.

According to embassy officials, the initiative will lead to fusion of Italian and Indian music and art. A ballet by the Milan’s Accademia Teatro alla Scala, a well-known ballet school, accompanied by music of the mridangam, canjira and gatham, will be staged in Delhi and Mumbai this month.

More Indian films will find place in film festivals in Rome and Florence and Indian artists will have their own pavilion at the Vienna Biennale — an exhibition of art, music, dance, theatre, architecture and history — this year, said the Italian ambassador to India, Giacomo Sanfelice di Monteforte.

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