Bradford Telegraph and ArgusExhibition marks Bradford links to Gujarat (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)

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Exhibition marks Bradford links to Gujarat

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Tim Smith and Champak Kumar at Bombay Stores Tim Smith and Champak Kumar at Bombay Stores

They have interwoven histories which go back hundreds of years.

Now the links between Britain and the Indian state of Gujarat are to be explored in a major arts exhibition.

The project, by Bradford-based Indian arts agency Oriental Arts, has secured a £118,532 grant from the Arts Council England’s strategic touring fund.

It is the largest grant awarded to Oriental Arts, the organisation which founded the hugely successful Bradford Mela.

The agency is commissioning Shipley photographer and community historian Tim Smith to make two journeys to Gujarat this year.

Working alongside Indian film-makers Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya, he will make photos, films and audio recordings for the exhibition.

Mr Smith said: “We aim to use a global story stretching back hundreds of years, and to bring it alive with personal stories both past and present.

“We hope that the exhibition will enable people to explore the history shared by Bradford, Britain and India.

“Gujarat was always at the forefront of that relationship, particularly in a place like Yorkshire where Gujarat has made a huge contribution to its rich textile heritage as well as the vibrant British Asian communities of today.”

The exhibition will open at the University of Bradford before touring the UK from 2015 to 2017. At each stop, content particular to local Gujarati communities will be added in. In Bradford, this is likely to include the links between the Gujarati and Yorkshire textile industries.

It will also be accompanied by activities such as crafts, cookery and storytelling, led by local Gujaratis.

Oriental Arts’ artistic director Champak Kumar, who is himself of Gujarati heritage, said: “We are very glad to be offered this wonderful opportunity to share an extraordinary story with audiences all over the country, and to do so working alongside members of the Gujarati community and a team of photographers, film-makers and others working in the cultural field.”

Pete Massey, of Arts Council England, said: “The north has a particular strength in photography and this project by Oriental Arts will only serve to enhance this reputation by taking this exciting new work around the country, enabling new audiences and local communities to experience excellent art.”

Gujarati people are being invited to contribute to the project by e-mailing info@orientalarts.org.uk.

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