German Ambassador in India Dr. Philipp Ackermann inagurated an Indo-German Installation for Durga Puja 2023 titled “JOL KOTHA BOLE | WATER SPEAKS” on 12th October, 2023,at nearly two centuries old heritage property Town Hall in Kolkata in presence of two artists -the German light and media designer Thomas Eichhorn and the Indian sound artist Sukanta Majumdar. The exhibition is organised by German Embassy in India in collaboration with MassArt an organisation promoting Durga Puja as one of the largest public art festival in the world.
Inaguration was attended by Ms. Barbara Voss Consul General of Germany in Kolkata , Mr.Johannes Hoeber Counsellor Head of Cultural Department , Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany ,New Delhi and diplomats from several other nations based in Kolkata, artists and others. The exhibition tried to explore the essence of rivers- Ganga (India) and Elbe (Germany) by the means of light and sound. Artists tried to explore connecting elements between rivers that are situated thousands of kilometres apart.
Talking to the both the artists revealed there is civilizational cultural perception difference between people of two nations on treatment of rivers.While talking, as German artist Thomas Eichhorn explained river in Germany looked at from utilitarian perspective and concept of “holiness” in treatment of river does not exist in Germany, while in India , Ganga is considered as holy and treated with great respect as Mother figure and source of Life in India. In fact , clay used for sculpting of Durga idol from river Ganga is based on Indian Hindu philosophy of reverence of river Ganga as the holy mother figure and source of Life.
This is unique and the first of its kind collaboration in Kolkata supported German Embassy in India.
Speaking to Partha Roy Senior Journalist , German Ambassador said “I am overwhelmed by the size and dimension of the Durga Puja which is expected to be attended by 2 crore people which is approximately 25 % of population of Germany. It is wonderful festival. Kolkata is known for art , literature… all this pandals, handmade idols…… It should have got more international attention to Durga Puja. With this new aspect of international artists coming during Durga Puja, Durga Puja will get more international attention ….”
Earlier , Dr. Philipp Ackermann served in India as Political Counsellor fifteen years ago and travelled extensively including in Odisha and visited Puri , Cuttack , Bhubaneswar. He got fascinated by rich culture , art , architecture, food and people of Odisha. He fondly remember attending a wedding ceremony in Bhubaneswar.
Dr. Philipp Ackermann mentioned India – German relationship is all time high and intense with Federal Chancellor of Germany visiting India twice this year and Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi visited Germany twice last year . He mentioned about excellent chemistry between German Chancellor and Indian Prime Minister . He added lower level cooperation between Ministers , senior officials, academics, artists are also contributing in enhancement of Indo- German relationship.
Dr. Philipp Ackermann is hopeful that Indo German relationship will flourish in time ahead. Ms. Barbara Voss Consul General of Germany in Kolkata mentioned she is new to Kolkata and got her accreditation on last Monday. Ms. Barbara Voss Consul General of Germany in Kolkata extended greetings “Happy Durga Puja” to all.