16 August 2020

The Art of Walking

Pankaj Tiwari & Abhishek Thapar |

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On Friday 3 July artists Pankaj Tiwari and Abhishek Thapar started The Art of Walking. They ended their journey on 15 July. In thirteen days they walked from Amsterdam to Calais, France, a 312-kilometer walk. With this they sought attention for the dire situation of migrant workers in India in these times of Covid-19. Based on their experiences during their trip, Tiwari and Thapar – both of Indian descent – make a production which can bee seen at next year’s edition of Theaterfestival Boulevard (who coproduces this project). On Tuesday 7 July MEIS, a performer and social designer from Eindhoven, known for her work Bagdaddy among others, walked along with them for a day at the request of Boulevard.

After the outbreak of Covid-19 in India, the Indian government hastily issued a strict national lockdown on 25 March. A decision that had a huge impact on migrant working communities in India, and it still has.  Within a few hours the entire economy came to a grinding halt and many migrant workers lost their jobs, saw their income vanish and were left with little food on the table. Add to that, that workers in major cities live very close to each other, and it comes as no surprise that they are prone to catch the virus. In such a desperate situation the migrant workers had no choice but to return to their houses in rural areas and small cities in India. Trains, buses and other means of public transportation were shut down and streets were barricaded. Millions of workers decided to walk to their homes - together with their families and the few possessions they owned - which were 300 to sometimes 2200 kilometers away from their work. A number of them died on the way, they lost their children or were killed by a train.

During their trip Tiwari and Thapar met different artists with a migrant background. They concluded their journey with a large meal, which they cooked and shared with the inhabitants of Calais.

The Art of Walking wants to create room for conversation and practice an urgent purpose of art in times of crisis. With a financial contribution it supports the migrant workers in India. You can watch Tiwari and Thapar’s journey on the Facebook page The Art of Walking.

Location Website Gido
Theaterfestival Boulevard thanks:
  • Gemeente 's-Hertogenbosch
  • Den Bosch Partners
  • Provincie Noord-Brabant
  • Fonds Podiumkunsten
  • VSBfonds
  • Fonds21
  • Vriendenloterij Fonds
  • Creative Europe Programme (EU)
  • Gieskes-Strijbis Fonds
  • Dioraphte
  • VandenEnde Foundation
  • Fonds ZOZ
  • Jeugdfonds Sport & Cultuur
  • Jan van Hoof Galerie
  • Apap
  • Feminist Futures
  • Performing Gender