Silk River

Silk River

As part of a year-long programme marking the 70th anniversary of Indian independence and the cultural relationship with the UK, Kinetika created Silk River, an ambitious project which explored the unique relationship between London and Kolkata through artistic exchange between communities along the Thames Estuary and India’s Hooghly River.

Ali Pretty, Kinetika’s Artistic Director, collaborated with associate artistic directors Ruchira Das (Think Arts, India) and Korak Ghosh as well as an international team of artists, writers and photographers to capture and interpret the experience of journeying along these two mighty rivers.


Working in 20 locations from Murshidabad to Batanagar (Hooghly) and Kew Gardens to Southend (Thames) we gathered, shared and retold stories of these riparian communities through 20 hand-painted Murshidabad silk scrolls


Silk River culminated in two performative walks –

Along the Thames between 15th – 24th September and

along the Hooghly between December 6th – 16th, 2017.


Silk River was part of Totally Thames that ran from 1-30 September, 2017

Silk River involves organisations in UK and West Bengal who work in heritage, culture, craft, tourism and education. We are delighted that this exciting project is part of the UK India Year of Culture, which seeks to showcase innovative and creative work from both countries, building deeper connections between communities.

Dr Debanjan Chakrabarti, Director British Council East and Northeast India


Silk River Interactive Scrolls

Explore Silk River through the art, images and
reflections of the people that made it possible.

Silk River Souvenir Programme

View the Silk River souvenir programme HERE



September 21, 2017 / Silk River, UK Blog

Day Seven: We all need a bit of salvation – even the tomatoes

According to legend, the last bear who fought here was killed, shaved and eaten by the local yobboes
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September 20, 2017 / Silk River, UK Blog

Day Six: From Small Beginnings…

Dawn is just breaking when we emerge from the Kinetika studios
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September 19, 2017 / Silk River, UK Blog

Day Five: The Benefits of Slow Travel

You might think the closest thing to birdlife here is Canary Wharf...
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September 18, 2017 / Silk River, UK Blog

Day Four: You Have to Walk a Place to Understand it

We enter a strange landscape where a Porsche dealer is neighbour to a strip of woodland filled with rubbish: a duvet hangs in a tree, a tiny vole lies dead on the cycle path.
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September 17, 2017 / Silk River, UK Blog

Day Three: Authentic Wicked Bunny Hops

Just after dawn I peer out the window of the working men’s hostel where we are staying on the Isle of Dogs and see a fox, a squirrel and a crow disputing the contents of a rubbish bin.
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Key Dates


April & May: Design workshops

June 5th – 18th: Textile residency in Kinetika studios

September 15th – 24th: Thames Walks

15th Oct – Diwali, Trafalgar Square
22-27th Oct Kew Exhibition
16th Nov – Exhibition, workshop & reprise performance of  Tower Hamlets walk ‘from Street to Stage’


January 7th – 21st: Textile residency in Murshidabad

January 28th & 29th: Murshidabad Heritage Festival, presentation of scrolls

December 6th -16th: Indian Walks


19-31st Dec: Exhibition of scrolls at Victoria Memorial Hall