Durham University

Artist Commission and Public Engagement Opportunity “Khyal: Music and Imagination”

GemArts is continuing its work with Durham University in 2016 with a fantastic opportunity for visual artists.

“Khyal: Music and Imagination” is a project which brings together an international team of ethnomusicologists, singers of Indian classical music and visual artists to develop original artwork and deliver public engagement activities.

We are seeking to appoint a visual artist to join the project team, who will work in collaboration with musicians and academics to develop an original artwork, and deliver a school workshop in the North East of England.

The successful candidate will be an enthusiastic and talented artist at the early stage of his/her career, with a degree in visual arts or equivalent, excellent teamwork skills, and an interest in exploring new and collaborative ways of working. While he/she will not be expected to have any technical knowledge of music or previous experience of Indian music, he/she will be willing to develop an original artwork after a period of dialogue and consultation with other team members.

For more information visit www.gemarts.org or www.dur.ac.uk



Image: Chris Nash

Image: Chris Nash

GemArts finished November 2014 with a spectacular duo of new works from our good friend Mayuri Boonham’s company ATMA Dance. Ex Nihilo/The Human Edge are a pair of complementary works, taking inspiration from sacred texts of India to explore the metaphysical origins of matter and the ancient questions of creation and human life.

Ex nihilo

There is an intriguing similarity between ancient philosophical questions of India and scientific inquiry about how our universe came into existence. The Hymn of Creation from the Rig Veda will drive the choreography of Ex nihilo, which will be juxtaposed against a sound environment created from recordings of The Large Hadron Collider by Bill Fontana as part of his Prix Ars Electronica artist residency at CERN in Geneva.

The Human Edge

In this work Boonham looks at the perceivable aspect of the universe that is within our grasp – the human angle. The story of Sati, the first goddess, the first embodied energy who appears at the start of the Hindu mythological moment of creation. The choreography delves into the drama of Sati’s life, love and dramatic death as a metaphor of a star.

When Mayuri told GemArts about this new project, we were really excited and blown away by the enormity of the themes and subjects she would tackle. Something which also struck us, was the link to CERN and Bill Fontana’s recordings of the Largde Hadron Collider. Not only was Professor Higgs (who is recognised for identifying the Higgs Boson particle and receiving a Nobel Peace Prize in 2013) born in Elswick Newcastle, but we also have a superb Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology (IPPP) based at Durham University. To add something extra to the event, we invited Dr Alexander Lenz, Deputy Director at the IPPP, to join Mayuri Boonham in a post show In Conversation.

The performance was fantastic, the two pieces presented in a very unique way, with elements of jagged, almost mechanical movement in one followed by fluid, graceful sequences in the other. The sound and lighting was exceptional, breathtaking some said. Following the dancers performance, Dr Lenz and Mayuri led a lively discussion covering CERN, physics, dance, sound, silence, literature, maths, faith and much more.

You can read Living North’s review of the performance, plus In Conversation here.

Post by Sinead