The world of puppetry has the innocence of the child, pure and fresh, and the wisdom of the sage. For me it has always held a special fascination as a unique artistic manifestation, of the simple and the complex, the liminal space of the mysterious and the imaginative. Through the very instrumentality of distancing from real time and space, it brings home the essence of the natural and real. The diversity of puppet theatre, as also its pervasiveness in all cultures and civilisations at different periods of human history, ranging from the remote past to the most contemporary and avant garde, makes it a most powerful medium of cross-cultural, multi-dimensional communication.
Over these decades UNIMA has played an outstanding role through its various chapters in creating a global community of artists who celebrate cultural diversity and distinctiveness. In a world where inter-connectivity is crucial, it is equally crucial to sustain innumerable forms of this art which sometimes face the danger of extinction.
I am particularly happy that the first World Puppetry Day is being organised in India, the home of this art from times immemorial. I am also happy that UNIMA is dedicating its conference to the memory of that great, towering figure, the late Smt. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya. She rejuvenated many forms of the Indian arts, particularly puppetry.
I would like to felicitate all members of UNIMA for enriching life in such deeply moving and joyful ways.
Nueva Delhi, 2003
Dr. Kapila Vatsayayan
Author, researcher, editor, performer, Dr Kapila Vatsyayan has dedicated her life’s energy, her expertise and her research to the preservation and restoration of cultural heritage in Asia and particularly in India. Puppetry has benefited from her commitment, her knowledge and her backing. She conceived and founded the National Centre for Arts Indira Gandhi, of which she was the Academic Director. Advisor to the Indian Government for thirty years, she has been acknowledged and honoured by numerous academies, amongst which the Sangect Natak Academy, the National Academy for Visual Arts and Fine Arts and the French Academy for the Study of Asian Civilisations figure. She has written and published more than 15 books, certain being of international renown .Her interests lie in vast spheres: scenic arts, literature, philosophy, anthropology, etc