Elsewhere Foundation launched in memory of playwright Swadesh Deepak

The Elsewhere Foundation was conceptualised and conceived during the pandemic, as a space and platform to create conversations and connections, and initiate creative contacts and dialogue.

As the world returns to a ‘new normal’, the Elsewhere Foundation now strives to initiate collaborations between different art forms and people from across the country through curated art events, endorsed by established artists.

Though headquartered in Chandigarh, the foundation is not geographically confined and will be curating performances, art workshops, talks, art appreciation workshops, book readings, and heritage walks across the country. Conceived in memory of award-winning author and playwright Swadesh Deepak, who left home in 2006 and never returned — inspiring the name Elsewhere — the foundation will be a platform for explorations and experiments across genres.

Co-Founder Nagina Bains on Tuesday said, “In my journey of self-discovery and unveiling layers of what is really me, Elsewhere Foundation comes closest to my core. When we bring pathbreaking art and artists to the audiences, it will also be an education for us. I am certain that an initiative like Elsewhere Foundation will find a place in people’s hearts.”

Echoing Bains was co-founder Sukant Deepak says, “For a long time, I have been wanting to set up this foundation. It may be in Swadesh Deepak’s memory, but its purpose is not to promote his works — he would not have liked that.

Frankly, this idea would not have taken a concrete shape without Nagina’s encouragement and expertise in the field of management. I hope the artists and audiences will appreciate our effort. The foundation brings its first presentation on November 16, the day the foundation is officially launched, in Chandigarh — Mahmood Farooqui’s ‘Dastan-e-Karn Az Mahabharata’, a retelling of the life of the great warrior Karna, based on Urdu, Persian, Hindi, and Sanskrit sources. Exploring the life of Karna, from his birth to his death, the production unearths the warrior’s angst, and most importantly, his tragedy. A powerful narrative that resonates even in times today, ‘Dastan-e-Karn Az Mahabharta’ is a must-watch not just for its sheer brilliance, but its ability to make the viewer seek and find contemporary motifs in an ancient story. Dastangoi is a form of Urdu storytelling, performed by either one or two people, combining multiple elements including poetry and music to tell a story. Along with his uncle, Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, noted Urdu poet and literary critic, Mahmood Farooqui, multiple award-winning dastango revived the ancient art of Urdu storytelling. Farooqui also co-directed the critically acclaimed film ‘Peepli Live’ with his wife Anusha Rizvi.

Talking about the foundation, author and trustee of Kochi Biennale Foundation, NS Madavan said, “I have high hopes for Elsewhere Foundation — a platform open to multiple arts and their confluence. Throughout the world, diverse art forms are coming together and strictly defined ones do not really exist anymore. We must get over binaries. It is extremely important that audiences of a particular region are exposed to art forms belonging to other ones”.

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