Manchester International Festival’s new Artistic Director John McGrath has highlighted how extraordinarily reactionary MIF17 will be. “Only a Festival of new work could speak so compellingly to the current state of the world,” he argues. “Many of these pieces are being made right now, and will continue to evolve in response to the events happening around us.” HOME1947 at The Lowry is just one example of this: this commission from two-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy not only marks the 70th anniversary of the Partition of British India this year, it is also a poignant reflection on themes of migration, home and belonging as today’s refugee crises continues to affect millions across the world.
HOME1947 will put a human face on the largest mass migration ever seen: a series of short films tells the stories of families in India and Pakistan who left their homes in 1947 and never returned. Questioning how we think about the idea of ‘home’, the installation will also include a poignant re-imagining of a pre-Partition house in British India, with the sights, sounds and smells drawn from 70 year-old memories.
Launching HOME1947 will be Sangam 2017, a one-off concert that brings together two leading Sufi musicians for the first time. Foremost Sufi singer Sanam Marvi from Pakistan and Indian-born Bollywood singer hailed as the “Queen of Sufi” Harshdeep Kaur will each give individual performances before coming together for a fusion set – an uplifting opening to a commission that looks set to be deeply moving in the new understanding it brings to a tumultuous period in history.