Australia-India Council (AIC)

AIC - Annual Report 1998-1999

Introduction | Chairman's message | Board members | Mission statement, aims and objectives

Funding application process | Australian studies | Commerce | Education | Indian studies | Institutional and professional links | International relations | Performing and visual arts | Print and electronic media and film | Public awareness | Science and technology | Sport

Administrative overview | Appendix: Australia-India Council Trust Account Financial Statements 1998-99

International relations

The objective of the Council's international relations program is to encourage greater attention to, and understanding of, international security issues of mutual concern to Australia and India and of the international relations stance of each country.

To encourage discussion in Australia of the impact on the international security environment and on bilateral relations of the May 1998 Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests, the Council provided funding toward travel costs for participation by Professor Brahma Chellaney, Professor of Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, and Air Commodore Jasjit Singh, Director of the Centre for Defence and Strategic Analysis, New Delhi, in the Dialogue on Security and Disarmament in the Asia Pacific, conducted by Monash University in Melbourne during August 1998.

Performing and visual arts

The objective of the Council's performing and visual arts program is to develop in India and Australia an appreciation of the quality, diversity and sophistication of each country's performing and visual arts. The program includes projects in arts management.


Photographer Satish Sharma
Portraying a Nation, an exhibition of photographs of Australia by leading Indian photographer Satish Sharma, recorded aspects of contemporary Australian life with particular emphasis on families and multiculturalism. Jointly funded by the AIC and the Australian High Commission, Portraying a Nation opened in New Delhi in March 1999 and later went to other major Indian cities. Satish Sharma (above at the exhibition opening) took the photographs during his visit to Australia in August-September 1998.

During 1998-99, the Council funded high-profile performing arts tours in both countries. From Australia, the Council provided funding to the Jazz Coordination Association of Western Australia to enable the Perth Jazz Orchestra to participate in the biennial Jazz Yatra, the leading Indian international jazz festival, in Mumbai and Pune in November 1998. The orchestra, including sixteen musicians and supporting personnel and also providing from its ranks the Jamie Oehlers Quintet, played a leading role in the festival and the performances of both groups received glowing reviews.

In the other direction, the Council provided funding for the concert tour of Australia in February and March 1999 by Indian santoor (hammered dulcimer) virtuoso Shiv Kumar Sharma, accompanied by the eminent percussionist Shafaat Ahmed Khan and by Rahul Kumar Sharma, also on santoor. Organised by the Melbourne-based Nataraj Cultural Centre, the tour included concerts in Sydney, Melbourne, Castlemaine (Victoria), Canberra, Perth, and at the World of Music and Dance festival in Adelaide. The performances attracted standing ovations at each location.

The Council contributed to costs of production in Australia of a compact disc recording of a musical collaboration between the Australian Art Orchestra, led by Paul Grabowsky, and the Indian Sruthi Laya ensemble, led by Karaikudi R Mani. The recording, bringing together Australian contemporary music and music from the Carnatic tradition of Southern India, will document a long-term working relationship between the two ensembles in composition and performance, which emerged during the 1996 Australia India-New Horizons promotion in India.

The Council also provided funding to the Asialink Centre at the University of Melbourne for a performing arts residency by Australian jazz musician and composer Nick McBride at the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts in Ahmedabad for four months from September 1999, and for performing arts, visual arts and arts management residencies by Australians in India to be implemented in 2000.

The major Council-supported visual arts event of 1998-99 was the Portraying a Nation photographic exhibition on Australia by leading Indian photographer Mr Satish Sharma, which opened at the India International Centre in New Delhi in March 1999. Portraying a Nation was subsequently exhibited at the Lalit Kala Akademi in New Delhi, and was scheduled for exhibition in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Calcutta during 1999-2000.

Jointly funded by the Council and the Australian High Commission in New Delhi, Portraying a Nation featured photographs taken during a visit to Australia by Mr Sharma in August-September 1998, and recorded aspects of the Australian landscape and Australian life, with particular emphasis on families and multiculturalism.

The Council agreed to provide funding to a consortium comprising the National Gallery of Australia, the National Museum of Australia and the Australian National University to conduct the first stage of an Indigenous artists exchange, comprising a residency at a leading arts centre in India in late 1999 by a small group of Australian Indigenous traditional artists and an exhibition of their work. Subject to the outcomes of the first stage of the exchange, the Council indicated its willingness to consider funding for a second stage, comprising a residency and exhibitions by Indian Indigenous artists in Australia, in a later year.

The Council provided funding to the Queensland Art Gallery to support the participation of Indian artists in the Third Asia-Pacific Triennial, the major regional contemporary art exhibition, in Brisbane from August to September 1999. The Council's decision recognised the success of Indian participation, with AIC funding, in the Second Triennial in 1996.

With Council funding assistance, arts management consultants Ms Joanna Caust and Mr David Fishel participated in seminars and workshops conducted by the Sanskriti Institute of Management for Cultural Organisations in New Delhi in December 1998 as part of a training program for arts administrators in India.