Through her poetry, Heike makes statements about various questions, such as gender issues or local politics. Broader topics also emerge, across societies, such as the way we treat strangers. My curiosity was caught, as Heike presented details of pieces that she created during her residency in India, and narrated their stories. Through her works, she tried reflecting on her experience here, on the incidents that inspired her process of working, thinking, expressing. It felt like entering a conversation with her, discovering pieces stuck out of one’s memories. The exchange also went into gender issues, her experiences in public spaces in India, her Kochi travel and… her discovery of the sweetest fruit she ever tasted!
“For the dead and the living, we must bear witness…” The spirit of Elie Wiesel’s words animated the air as the Sahitya Akademi hosted a unique poetry evening, with readings by seven major writers in various languages, and a conversation among them, to mark the launch of the cultural banner of LILA Foundation, LILA Bearing Witness. The event, entitled ‘Voices in Verse’ celebrated the multicultural origins of the participants, and also served as an initial collective reflection on the possibilities of individuals and communities bearing witness to the times in general, and to the multitudinous ways in which poets in particular tend to bear witness.
At LILA, we look at translation as a fundamental human act, with applications and implications that go way beyond the interlingual space. We are pleased that Lakshmi saw and appreciated the essential creative play that we are trying to integrate into the fields of knowledge and understanding. While the academic industry is inundated with theoretical papers on translation, Ambai’s lecture, the ninth in the LILA PRISM series, offered a seamlessly creative and witty study on the politics embedded in our myriad engagements with texts. Touching upon the difficulties involved in translating from other Indian languages to English with special reference to Tamil, she emphasized the need to let some linguistic mysteries be, so that cultures remain alluring.