Dhol Workshops at the National Media Musuem celebrating Hola Mahalla

During Hola Mahalla a Nagar Kirtan (procession) starts from the main bazaar in Anandpur Sahib and travels all the way to a ground where various sports events take place. Nagar Kirtans feature a chorus of drummers announcing the procession. Traditionally they would be Nagara drums, large double drums thunderously announcing to the world the presence of royalty going into battle. This can be seen in the Hola Nahalla exhibition at the National Media Museum in Bradford from 26 February through to 17 April. 

Nagara drum on a horse during hola mahalla hola mohalla

 

These days Dhol players also form part of Nagar Kirtans. To celebrate the the Hola Mahalla festival, the exhibition and the 'Make Some Noise' science week, Dhol workshops and performances were organised at the National Media Museum carried out by Soul Asia Academy | Drum Fusion. It was received well and drew in great numbers.

Below are some pictures from the event.

Photos Darshan Singh

Hola Mahalla is a little known Sikh festival that takes place annually in Anandpur, India. Dubbed the Sikh Olympics, it involves sword fights, daring horse stunts and a dab of spiritualism.

This documentary focuses on the festival Hola Mahalla that has been running since the 17th century, showcasing skills such as swordsmanship and daring horse stunts that are with an ever decreasing number of nomadic Sikhs.

Featuring key interviews with Nihang Jatherdar (High Priest) Baba Nihal Singh and Kesgarh Sahib Jathedar, Late Giani Tirlochan Singh. This beautifully shot film takes the viewer on a journey through the festival and Anandpur Sahib, the "City of Bliss", providing a snapshot into a world rarely experienced outside of India and exploring this Forgotten Festival.

National Media Museum Bradford Exhibition

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The Hola Mahalla exhibition is being shown at the National Media Museum in Bradford from 26 February through to 17 April, on the ground floor opposite the IMAX Cinema.

Using a combination of prints and audio visual content, the exhibition takes the audience on a journey through this unique festival.

At the bottom of this page is a trailer for the documentary film 'Hola Mahalla: The Forgotten Festival' extracts of which will feature in the exhibition.

The film can be ordered on DVD here or to watch on VOD here.

DATES

EXHIBITION: 26 FEBRUARY - 17 APRIL 2016

Open Daily 10am to 6pm

Weekends 10am to 5pm

LATES EVENING: THURSDAY 17 MARCH 2016

6.30pm to 9.30pm

A FREE ticketed event that featured a variety of music performances throughout the night including Dhol players kicking the evening off, live bands, talks and countless other events.

 

Lates is a night of FREE entertainment for over 18's; where you can relax, have fun and experience exclusive shows, activities and talks and access to the museum and its many exhibitions during the evening.

MAKE SOME NOISE-FAMILY WEEKEND 19/20 MARCH 2016

10am to 4pm.

Clap your hands, stomp your feet and prepare your ears, the National Media Museum is about to MAKE SOME NOISE!

Join us to find out how sounds are made, how we hear them and all the amazing ways we can play with sound.

Discover how technology can make sound incredibly fun, and create weird and wonderful noises that you have never heard before.

Free Dhol Workshops

Free Dhol Workshops were held over the weekend.

Workshop Times: 11.30am, 1.30pm 2.30pm

Dhol Performances intermittently from 10am to 4pm.

For more information about the Make Some Noise-Family Weekend click here.

 

Address

 

National Media Museum,
Bradford,
West Yorkshire,
BD1 1NQ

 

Contact

Tel: 0844 856 3797
Email: talk@nationalmediamuseum.org.uk
Opening hours: 08:30 - 17:00 (Monday - Friday), 10:00 - 17:00 (Saturday) 

Hola Mahalla is a little known Sikh festival that takes place annually in Anandpur, India. Dubbed the Sikh Olympics, it involves sword fights, daring horse stunts and a dab of spiritualism.

This documentary focuses on the festival Hola Mahalla that has been running since the 17th century, showcasing skills such as swordsmanship and daring horse stunts that are with an ever decreasing number of nomadic Sikhs.

Featuring key interviews with Nihang Jatherdar (High Priest) Baba Nihal Singh and Kesgarh Sahib Jathedar, Late Giani Tirlochan Singh. This beautifully shot film takes the viewer on a journey through the festival and Anandpur Sahib, the "City of Bliss", providing a snapshot into a world rarely experienced outside of India and exploring this Forgotten Festival.

 

Exhibition in London - Rich Mix

The Hola Mahalla exhibition will be shown at the Rich Mix in London this May. Previously the exhibition has been shown at the National Media Museum and at Kala Sangam

DATES

EXHIBITION: 4 to 20 May 2016

Open Daily 10am to 9pm

Closed to the public on 18 May.  

Open House Launch: Wednesday 4 May 2016

6pm to 8pm 

Join us on Facebook for this event.

FAMILY event Saturday 14 May 2016

12pm to 3pm.

Join us for a special Hola Mahalla Family event featuring:
* Short films on Hola Mahalla and the Sikh diaspora
* Live music in the form of Kirtan and Katha performed by Sukhy Singh from Birmingham
* Sikh martial arts Gatka, performed by Sahibzada Baba Ajit Singh Akhara

To get a flavour of what this unique festival has to offer check out the trailer for documentary film 'Hola Mahalla: The Forgotten Festival' at the bottom of this page.

Free soft drinks and food will be available.

Join us on Facebook for this event.

 

ADDRESS

Rich Mix

35 - 47 Bethnal Green Road
London
E1 6LA

 

Contact:
Box Office: 020 7613 7498
Office/Admin: 020 7613 7490
Fax: 020 7613 7499
E-mail: boxoffice@richmix.org.uk

To buy the documentary on DVD click here or to watch it online via On-Demand click here.

Hola Mahalla is a little known Sikh festival that takes place annually in Anandpur, India. Dubbed the Sikh Olympics, it involves sword fights, daring horse stunts and a dab of spiritualism.

This documentary focuses on the festival Hola Mahalla that has been running since the 17th century, showcasing skills such as swordsmanship and daring horse stunts that are with an ever decreasing number of nomadic Sikhs.

Featuring key interviews with Nihang Jatherdar (High Priest) Baba Nihal Singh and Kesgarh Sahib Jathedar, Late Giani Tirlochan Singh. This beautifully shot film takes the viewer on a journey through the festival and Anandpur Sahib, the "City of Bliss", providing a snapshot into a world rarely experienced outside of India and exploring this Forgotten Festival.

 

Saint Soldier

Dhanjal Art is one of the artists commissioned for the Hola Mahalla exhibition. He produced a canvas painting called "Saint Soldier" that can be seen as part of the exhibition in Bradford at the exhibition space Kala Sangam. 

Here we have a quick interview with Dhanjal Art about his painting "Saint Soldier".

To see an interview with Jag Lall about his canvas painting "Contemplation Through the Fields" click here.

The exhibition also features the documentary 'Hola Mahalla: The Forgotten Festival' and you can see a trailer for the Documentary by clicking here.

To buy the documentary 'Hola Mahalla: The Forgotten Festival' on DVD click here or to watch it online via On-Demand click here.

You Can follow us on Twitter and Facebook by clicking the buttons below.


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Contemplation through the fields

For the exhibition currently running in Bradford at Kala Sangam, we selected over 20 photographs and commissioned two pieces of art to share the Hola Mahalla experience. Jag Lall is one of three artists whose art forms part of the exhibition. The other two artists are Dhanjal Art and Moninder Singh. Eventually we hope to bring you further interviews with everyone involved with the project.

Jag Lall visited the exhibition during the Bradford Literature Festival in May and we got the following filmed interview with him. We also have a further more detailed written interview with him below.

Q Introduce yourself?

My name is Jag Lall and I'm a free spirited artist.

Q Describe the different type of art that you produce?

My main two things are canvas paintings and graphic novels, comic book art. With my canvas paintings I say they're free spirited because they're very much my own personal expression, personal narrative. They're thought provoking, they're unique. You won't find my paintings, the imagery elsewhere because they're that unique, I give different and modern twists to contemporary images. and just try to give different meanings to my paintings as well. They're all acrylic based, I like to work quite large as well; very brisk, expressive brush strokes, thats definitely my signature look I think in my paintings. 

My graphic novels, they also kind of have a social commentary edge. I think its really important to me that art can make a difference and the whole use of imagery and narrative blended together for me works really well and I think allows me to give the messages that I want to the world. 

Q Which ones are examples with a modern twist? 

The one I did on Maharaja Duleep Singh, the painting I did of him where one wrist was tied to a British flag and one wrist was tied to the India flag. For me, just reading his story I didn't want to just copy a portrait that was done before. When I was reading about his story I kind of felt he was torn and tied between both countries and in a lot of ways I kind of feel like that as a British Asian if I'm honest living in England. Its like you know, motherland might be India but whats really home for me as well? So thats my own expression and own narrative I wanted to bring to the piece as well. 

In terms of a contemporary social definition, that painting has really resonated with people as well, especially British Asians. Our generation I think really feel like that, a lot of us feel quite torn between both. 

Q What was the piece that you were commissioned to do for the Hola Mahalla exhibition?

The piece I did for the Hola Mahalla exhibition is called 'Contemplation Through the Fields'. Originally I saw a photograph and if Im honest its one of the first few photographs I saw in my life which I looked at and thought I have to paint this. It had an emotion which really resonated with me; because when I think of Hola Mahalla I think of… well noise. I think of noise, I think of energy, vibrance, colour, and the photograph was quite subdued but it was almost like a shot in time, it had a stillness to it that really struck with me. It was very much opposite to what I would think of Hola Mahalla. So when I saw that I thought  "I had to paint it" and just try to recreate that emotion but in my own art, brushstroke expressive style. 

Original photograph for Contemplation Through the Fields

Original photograph for Contemplation Through the Fields

When I create all my paintings, as I mentioned Im quite expressive, so a lot of times I will quite literally splatter paint onto the canvas. A lot of drips, thats actually how I start my artwork, it's drips of colour, and splashes of colour.

In a way a lot of my paintings are like a sculpture and I try to work my way through it. You can kind of see that actually in the painting as well, if you look you can see the drips flowing through the canvas and its juts kind of my own signature work and emotion for me. There's a lot of energy to the painting, thats one thing I was really happy with the painting. Its got a stillness to it, with the boy leaning on the horse. Them two are quite still, but when you kind of look into it the brushstrokes are really fast and brisk. In a way it really captures the energy of Hola Mahalla without losing its stillness.

Q How long did it take?

Generally I take 10 to 12 hours doing a canvas painting but with this painting I felt it happened a lot quicker, so I'd say 8 to 9 hours tops I was able to finish this off.

I like to do a lot of sketch thumbnails before I start my main paintings. Obviously since this was already a photograph, that was in a way my thumbnail sketch. However I did make a mistake because I was so in love with the photograph. To begin with I just recreated that kind of composition and when I stepped back from the painting I noticed the boy on the horse were too much to the right and there was too much space to the left. The composition and the size of the painting, the size I was working at, the dimensions were slightly different to what was in the photograph, it wasn't working out. When I was about 40% finished, I completely scrapped the whole painting; did a couple of sketches; and shifted the whole thing to the right and also added a man on a horse behind and just switched the layout and composition to make sure it worked the way I needed it to. 

Q How does it fit within the exhibition 

That was one thing I was really curious to find, does it fit? Sometimes what I find with my art, because its so brisk and expressive it doesn't fit, but I think it really does fit, because a lot of the photography is really colourful as well. And obviously that painting has a lot of colour in it as well. It fits kind of seamlessly, it also blends in well with the other artwork as well as the photography.


Jag Lall's commissioned piece Contemplation Through the Fields can be seen as part of the Hola Mahalla exhibition at Kala Sangam, in Bradford throughout June.  If you're interested in purchasing the original canvas painting of Contemplation Through the Fields click here to register your interest.

You can see more of Jag Lall's artwork at www.jaglallart.com 

You can see a trailer of the Documentary by clicking here.

To buy the documentary 'Hola Mahalla: The Forgotten Festival on DVD click here or to watch it online via On-Demand click here.

You Can follow us on Twitter and Facebook by clicking the buttons below.