Workshop celebrates Mitcham’s diverse culture


Artists from all over London took part in an event at Mitcham’s Vestry Hall which included art, music and dancing

By Glyn Semple

CULTURE vultures enjoyed a celebration of Merton’s diversity on Saturday October 31 at an Ephemeral Arts Workshop.

The event, in Mitcham’s Vestry Hall, brought together artists from all over London for a night of music, art and dancing.

The ephemeral arts are, by definition, temporary. Usually created for a special occasion or event and gone soon after.

The display by the South London Music and Cultural Group of beautiful, multi-coloured flowers, dyes and lentils, was a combination of Indian art forms Alpana, Kolam and Rangoli.

Group member and event organiser Sabitri Ray said: “Our main objectives are to bring together the diverse communities and keep alive our traditions and cultures.”

The group wants to encourage local artists, give them opportunities to learn and to build their confidence.

Other arts represented were Chinese Calligraphy, Filipino Bamboo dancing, Mehendi( Indian hand painting), traditional Indian flute and Odisi dancing.

Odisi dancer Koel Ghosh has been performing for more than 20 years, starting her training in India at 5 years old.

She said the event was a good chance for people to see some of each other’s traditional art-forms.

“It was a very good blend of all cultures together,” she said.

The atmosphere was friendly and the dancers took the opportunity to join in with each other and learn some new moves.

Indian flute player Jonathan Lawrence was playing a soulful tune as the evening wound down and people prepared to leave.

He learned his art in London and has been playing for 11 years. He performs with Indian groups all over London.

“I got into listening to Indian music but I needed to start playing it to really learn about it,” he said.

The event took a lot of planning and hard work but Sabitri plans to organise another one soon, probably in January, but details have not been finalised.

Past events have included Egyptian belly dancing, Indian classical music and African drum and dance.

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