The Indo-American Arts Council is a registered not-for-profit service and resource organization, charged with the mission of promoting the awareness, creation, production, exhibition, publication and performance of Indian and cross cultural art forms in North America.
The IAAC supports all artistic disciplines in classical, fusion, folk and innovative forms including and influenced by the arts of India. We work cooperatively with colleagues around the United States to broaden our collective audiences and to create a network for shared information, resources and funding.
The IAAC also reacts to and aids crisis situations in India and the United States through the arts. The Maharashtra earthquake prompted me to accompany AmeriCares volunteers to India and personally carry & distribute 7000 Ibs of relief supplies to victims in the earthquake areas. We followed up with a fundraising performance ofFeroz Khan's play "Tumhari Amrita" starring Shabana Azmi, Faruque Shaikh - the money helped set up an entire village near Latur.
The Gujarat earthquake led us to hold a Gala Benefit dinner where Indian- American art was auctioned by Christies and President Bill Clinton was our Guest of Honour. I personally travelled to Bhuj, visited the devastated areas, met the NGOs and identified where the money would be best spent. Money was then sent for water, shelter and artisans - and we have documented reports of the specific usage/benefit.
In an determined effort to help rebuild New York following the violent destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11,2001 the IAAC presented Film & Theatre Festivals in November despite the dissapearance of all funding. The horror of communal violence in Gujarat led me to conceive of a Staged Reading from Shashi Tharoor's novel followed by an Open discussion on the volatile situation in Gujarat. Shashi's characters clearly articulate some of the myriad disparate voices heard in India. The Reading with Shabana Azmi, Shashi Tharoor, Madhur Jaffrey and Tuku Vardharajan is an excellent backdrop for the resulting discussion which should provoke an intelligent yet passionate response: hopefully resulting in a greater understanding of what we will all lose if the current grim situation continues.
Life and art reflect each other. Let us hope our creative endeavours lead to positive energy and generosity both in our native land India, as well as our adopted country America.
Aroon Shivdasani, Executive