Nitin Sawhney performing 'Prophecy' on the last day of Luminato 2011

Nitin Sawhney performing ‘Prophecy’ last day of Luminato 2011

11 Days & 33 events? I lost count. Plus I plan to go see Srinivas Krishna’s “My Name is Raj” Installation at TIFF when the Raj Kapoor retrospective begins. So should I count that into the final tally?

The Luminato Festival was particularly special to me as it incorporated a lot of intercultural dialogue (my passion), not only with the productions like 1001 Nights, TAJ and LU XUN Blossoms but also with the great events produced by the Luminato ‘Curator of Literary Programming’, Devyani Saltzman.

I think I may have attended almost every one of the events Devyani was in charge of. I was beginning to feel like I was becoming a Devyani Groupie. Remember the ‘sidler’ character on Seinfeld? Elaine’s coworker has this habit of sneaking up on her unnoticed. She gives him a container of Tic-Tacs so she can hear him coming. I was waiting for that moment when Devyani would hand me a pack! Well, if anything I did become a serious fan of Devyani and her talent for producing an amazing line up.

The Illuminations Series that allowed the audience to hear the inspiration behind projects like Akram Kahn and Nitin Sawhney’s CONFLUENCE and Lata Pada’s journey to get TAJ produced was great.

But the highlight for me, was listening to Arab poet John Asfour recite the first poem he ever wrote – “Daffodils”. This was followed by Canadian poet Dionne Brand reading John’s poem “The Metro”. I discovered something new, a passion for poetry and how a small number of carefully selected words can create emotions in you that become the pulse behind your humanity.

Thank you Devyani for your vision, your attention to detail and your pursuit of what you love.

(I plan to post John Asfour’s poem “The Metro” once I get a copy of his book BLINDFOLD – it must be shared!)