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Launch of 'Villa Swagatam'

Man Rec, a solo performance by Amala Dianor

To boost French cultural engagement in India

By IANSlife

March 06, 2023 (IANSlife) During a special gathering at the French Institute in India (IFI), the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna, who is in India for the G20 FMM, officially launched the network of "Villa Swagatam" residencies. The project marks a significant turning point for the network of 15 Alliances Françaises and the French Institute, which together make up the French cultural community in India.

Speaking at the event, French Foreign Affairs Minister Catherine Colonna said: “There is a deep friendship, and mutual cultural admiration between the French and Indian peoples. We are both nations with a rich history, and extremely talented artists and innovators. It is our endeavour to bring them closer together and build a true Indo-French community of artists. That is the purpose of the Villa Swagatam initiative, which I have the pleasure of inaugurating today. I warmly thank the Indian partners who will open their residencies to French writers and artists all over India.”

The French cultural network has made sustainability, community involvement, and increased variety and inclusion its guiding principles as it constantly changes to reflect the demands of the times. This led to the creation of "Villa Swagatam," a network of residencies in India that aims to foster long-term relationships between the literary and creative actors of the two nations. With the introduction of this program, India joins a long list of international French residency-based initiatives around the globe, including the Nouveau Grand Tour and the Villa Medicis in Italy as well as Villa Albertine in the United States, Villa Kujoyama in Japan, Casa de Velázquez in Spain, and Villa Kujoyama in America.

Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Mme Catherine Colonna
Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Mme Catherine Colonna

Long organizing residencies, the French Institute in India and the Alliances Françaises in India included renowned French dancer-choreographer Amala Dianor, who delivered a stunning performance on the night of the launch. Villa Swagatam has collaborated with a number of French cultural organizations, including literary residencies and centers, art schools, theatres, festivals, and private foundations, in an effort to draw more and more French artists and authors to India. Midway through 2023, an application period will open, with the first inhabitants arriving in India. Villa Swagatam will therefore open the door for the constant presence of French artists and authors throughout India all year long.

In stage 2, Villa Swagatam will expand to send Indian residents to France: the 16 residencies in France added to the 16 residencies in India will generate no fewer than 320 Villa Swagatam alumni. For the next 10 years, this will be a new pillar for the French Institute and the Alliances françaises network for developing their cultural programing.

'Swagatam', the Sanskrit equivalent of the French 'Bienvenue', reflects the desire to welcome dialogue, collaboration, and exchange. This philosophy is at the core of the French cultural network, which aims to foster bilateral cooperation.

The Villa Swagatam network:

Literary residencies

  • MAD Salon+Lab
  • Sangam House
  • Rachna Books & Northeast Journeys
  • Tara Books
  • DC Kizhakemuri Foundation and Kerala Literature Festival
  • The Himalayan Writing Retreat
  • Alice Boner Institute

Arts & Craft residencies

  • Kalhath Institute
  • Khoj
  • Public Arts Trust of India x Prameya Art Foundation
  • Nila House
  • Vastrakala

Performing arts residencies

  • Serendipity Arts
  • RRAP (Rajasthan Rural Arts Programme)
  • Katkatha Puppet Arts Trust
  • Prakriti Foundation




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