This is What Dreams are Made of

The evening unfurled at a white table. I heard scribbling in the feedback register, hustle around the post-it section. They were reflecting upon the exhibition. “What did you dream of last night?” the question said. She penned her answer down and took the note to the noticeboard in front. The board was full to the brim with sticky notes of different kinds; Of different kinds of dreams. The good, bad, and mundane, that there was little space left to add new ones. She placed hers, nevertheless, and left.

The first half of Ashoka Art Gallery’s event, called ‘Dreams’, was an exhibition of the artwork of 10 students, ranging from paintings to pencil-art, to photographs. The first picture on entering the venue was a pencil on paperwork titled “Sunlight”. A creation of Kriti Garg, it was the portrait of a woman. It was only a glimpse of what the exhibition would unveil. Among other pencil-works, were two by Niyamat Narang titled “The Weird Sister” and “Firaaq”. What followed were two acrylic paintings by Rutu J. Shah. She used acrylic to create a plastic-like texture on canvas. They explored beautiful, multiple shades of colors that were skilfully weaved together. There were two fascinating works made via woodcut print - one monochrome and the other in colour. The common thread that tied them both together was the sense of relatability by the Ashokan student community. One of them being the depiction of a person fast asleep and the other, of a student in her seventh semester (Aaah!). The photographs on display were equally marvellous. They included pictures of travelling in the metro, a full-clear bubble and a Benarasi scene. There were several others that captured a variety of moments including and beyond everyday life, making the exhibition more exhilarating.

Between the crevices of the exhibition and the performances for the night, one could move to the patio. The patio was lit with fairy lights, and a highlight was an AAG (Ashoka Art Gallery) shaped light installation. Biscuits, coffee and tea were on the house (another one of those catches that Ashokans can relate to).

At the white table on the way out, one could fill in the feedback register and write on sticky notes. We placed our pens down after having done both and made our way out to pave way for others to enter.

 

The second half of the event started with the dimming of lights. The stage was radiant with colors while the audience and walls faded into darkness. The commentator took over the stage and began with talking about the theme of the night - ‘Dreams’. By the time he let the night be taken over by the performers, the auditorium’s atmosphere was one of excitement and anticipation.

 

The first was a spoken word piece by Samia and Sasha, about love “in Delhi”. It wasn’t merely beautifully phrased but equally well rendered. Their voices were so in sync that it was as if we were witnessing a symphony.

Following that was a Bharatnatyam performance by Ramya Venkataraman. The beauty and depth of her facial expressions is what kept the audience captive with mesmerization. She received a standing ovation, setting the bar higher for the rest who would follow.

 

Four stunning poetry performances were next in line, that interpreted and expressed the idea of dreams in sundry manners. One was through a political lens while another was from the perspective of a housewife with a restricted identity. The language of the poetry was not restricted to English, and there was a performance that was delivered in Hindi. Fluidity in languages allows the artist a certain space to experiment with creative freedom and its expression.

The second dance performance of the event was one by Kanika Parwal, who, with her dreamy act, engulfed the auditorium with a sense of enchantment. This was followed up by a jamming session (using a guitar and a tabla) - the penultimate performance of the night.

 

The event closed with a much-loved performance by Ashoka’s beloved and free genre band from Delhi - Shorthand. Put together with original compositions and covers of other songs, they brought a different kind of zeal to the room. Several people inched closer to the stage, some swayed and danced. The mood changed to one that was light and soft, much like dreams themselves. Was there any other way this could've ended better?

 

The evening kicked off at a white table, but there can’t be enough post-its or feedback registers that could possibly describe the event or the dreams that it inspired. It certainly was a wonderful night, but until another next such event rolls around, Ashokans can only dream of more. And well dream more!

Edited by Vedika Gupta

Editor's Note

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