The Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (part of Indian Council for Cultural Relations) in Sydney recently organised a panel discussion on ‘Building Cultural Bridges between India and Australia’.
The people to people cultural connect between India and Australia is getting closer and stronger. Both countries have a rich and vibrant cultural and creative industry, and are internationally renowned in food, film, literature, theatre, the visual arts and much more. The discussion organised at the Consulate General of India in Sydney was about exploring ways to enhance the cultural connections between both the countries and its role in shaping the bilateral relationship.
The panellists included CEO of Australia India Institute and former Federal Senator Lisa Singh, (first woman of Indian subcontinental origin to be elected to the Australian Parliament), Centre for Australia India Relations Chair, Swati Dave, Indian-Australian entrepreneur and CEO of Gandhi Creations, Sonia Sadiq Gandhi and Director and Chief Executive of the Australian National Maritime Museum Daryl Karp. Director Curatorial, Collections & Programs at Powerhouse Museum, Matthew Connell, was the moderator.
Niyati Mehta is the Director of Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre in Sydney. She said the idea behind hosting the event was to discuss connections and trends in the cultural space between both our countries and explore ways to build on it.
CEO of Australia India Institute, Lisa Singh, mentioned at the discussion how cultural understanding can help breakdown stereotypical perceptions of both countries in each other’s views.
Speaking with The Australia Today Ms Singh said that having the Indian diaspora share their culture with the broader Australian community could help Australians understand India.
Chief Executive of the Australian National Maritime Museum, Daryl Karp, noted that culture is one of those hard to measure things that brings people together. She mentioned that exploring connections between the two countries in the context of water was an untapped opportunity.
Director Curatorial, Collections & Programs at Powerhouse Museum, Matthew Connell, emphasised the importance of culture by saying that ‘culture sits behind everything’.
Poet Nimeesha Gupta, who has been an informal ambassador for Indian arts and culture in Australia as wife of former CGI in Sydney, Manish Gupta, said that culture plays an important role in bridging the relationship between two countries. She also spoke about the omnipresence of cultural in Indian ethos.
Indian-Australian entrepreneur Sonia Sadiq Gandhi highlighted the intersection between culture and business, how it fosters international relations and empowers economic growth through trade and investment.