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 16, 2017 / Silk River, UK Blog

Day Two: Into the Melting Pot – Tower Hamlets

If yesterday was all trees and lovely riverside views, today promises to be very different.
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September 14, 2017 / Silk River

10 Day Count Down – Southend!

In 10 days time we will begin our last day carrying all 20 scrolls through this thousand-year-old community of fishermen. We will meet local artists and see Metal’s digital exhibition on ipads as well as be treated to a performance from the Mudlarks Choir, amongst other surprises.
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September 13, 2017 / Silk River

10 Day Count Down – East Tilbury

Oh my goodness, it's day 9 of our 10 day count down! Well what a treat we have for you today! The Bata Heritage Centre are leading the walk to give you real insight into the buildings and local history, and very generously they have agreed to provide real props for the performance.
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September 12, 2017 / Silk River

Silk River Film Showing at the BFI Tomorrow 13 Sept!

As part of Totally Thames, Kinetika present a Silk River film screening looking at how this ambitious project has explored the unique relationship between London and Kolkata through artistic exchange between communities along the Thames Estuary and India's Hooghly River. The screening will be followed by a question and answers session with some of the project's key partners.
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September 12, 2017 / Silk River

10 Day Count Down – Tilbury

On the 21st Sept we are in 'Gateway to the world', otherwise known as Tilbury! It is still a very busy port and we will hear stories of how it used to be before the age of shipping containers, when tea arrived from India in chests, cargo was unloaded in wheelbarrows and rum came in barrels.
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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