Singapore, 2 June 2018 – As part of his state visit to Singapore, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Indian Heritage Centre (IHC) and launched a long-term platform for the demonstration and enjoyment of traditional Indian crafts at the IHC, titled Kala Sangam. The initiative is made possible through a private cash donation of S$250,000 to IHC by Mr Ravi Thakran.

Kala Sangam is a collaboration between the IHC and the High Commission of India to invite traditional craftspeople from India to the centre, to demonstrate their crafts, promote this important aspect of the Indian community’s intangible cultural heritage, and share this with Singaporeans. It follows the success of the craft demonstrations which are a part of IHC’s ongoing special exhibition Symbols and Scripts – The Language of Craft, which features traditional craftspeople and calligraphers who showcase traditional Indian crafts that come from the hometowns back in India of Singapore’s Indian communities.

The donation will be used to facilitate 12 craftspeople from India travelling to IHC annually, over a five-year period (2018 to 2022). This gift will be eligible for Singapore’s Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth Cultural Matching Fund, which can provide a dollar-to-dollar (1:1) matching grant to the gift, thereby doubling its impact and value. The schedule of craft demonstrations over the next five years will be curated to relate to Singapore’s calendar of Indian festivals, such as Deepavali and Pongal, to enhance the celebration of the heritage of Singapore’s Indian communities. The crafts will span a wide range of disciplines and media, and could range from leather and textile work, and wood carving, to painting and calligraphy.

“The Indian Heritage Centre has always sought to showcase the rich heritage and culture of the Indian community in Singapore, and to highlight the connections of Singapore’s Indian community to the larger global diaspora. Kala Sangam, and its long-term offering of craft demonstrations by traditional craftspeople from India, will allow Singaporeans to personally experience and enjoy these crafts, some of which originate from their ancestors’ hometowns in India. This allows for a better understanding of ourselves, and our connections to the world. We are grateful to the High Commission of India, and the generous private donation of Mr Ravi Thakran, for making this possible,” said Ms Trudy Loh, Director of Heritage Institutions at the National Heritage Board.