India is said to have the largest collection of ancient manuscripts in the world, with a history stretching back to one of the earliest bodies of text; The Vedas (written around 1500 to 1000 BC, constituting the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism). While the tradition of illumination didn’t arrive in the country until much later (around 800 AD), it quickly became the dominant style during the Mughal period and a vast number of beautifully illustrated works still exist today – several of which are housed within the John Rylands Library collection and feature in its hugely popular current exhibition; The Alchemy of Colour.
As part of Manchester After Hours 2018, John Rylands and local community dance group Upasana present Colour Alive! – an evening of classical Indian dance, colour and light inspired by the vivid hues of the ancient Indian manuscripts, set within the late-Victorian, neo-Gothic splendour of library’s Historic Reading Room. The library itself will also be illuminated; lit up by a dazzling array of colours informed by the many historic gems nestled within The Alchemy of Colour, which will be open to visitors throughout the course of the evening.
Founded in Manchester in 2004, Upasana works to celebrate Indian art and culture throughout the UK. Each performance will last around 20 minutes, starting at 6pm, 6.40pm, 7.20pm and 8pm (but feel free to drop in at any point between 6pm and 8pm).
Recommended for 7 years and above.
Performances last for 20 minutes each. If you’d like to see everything, the full programme starts at 6pm, 6.40pm, 7.20pm and 8pm. If you’re just dropping in, arrive any time between 6pm and 8pm and a member of staff will direct you to the next performance. Free entry. No need to book, just turn up.
Colour Alive! at The John Rylands Library, City Centre