Khirkee Festival was a four-day festival of the arts taking place, organised by KHOJ International Artists’ Association. The festival was a celebration of the cultural multiplicity of Khirkee, bringing to the foreground a variety of narratives about and from the neighbourhood through exhibitions, interventions, music, theatre, sports, bazaars and food.
Khirkee Festival activated the spaces of KHOJ Studios, the Sai Baba Mandir Road and Jamun Wala Park.
At KHOJ Studios, there was an exhibition comprising interactive installations, videos, workshops, and conversations that showcased the four long-term community-based projects that KHOJ has supported: the Khirkee Storytelling Project by Swati Janu; Khirkee Voice/Khirkee Awaaz by Malini Kochupillai and Mahavir Singh Bisht; Khirkee Dialogues, and Kisse Connection by Aagaaz Theatre Trust; as well as the Young Artists of Khirkee project by the children of the neighbourhood, facilitated by Aru Bose.
Simultaneously, KHOJ Studios hosted an open studio exhibition of the first Khirkee Residency, where artists Tito Aderemi-Ibitola (Nigeria), Aziz Hazara (Afghanistan), and Rajyashri Goody (India) showed the works they produced in their four-week residency in response to the neighbourhood of Khirkee.
The cultural diversity of the neighbourhood is perhaps best experienced through food. The KHOJ terrace hosted a food mela and craft bazaar, which saw home cooks and small eateries from Khirkee offering samplings of Afghani, Somali, Cameroonian, and Bihari cuisines, among others. Craft shops included screenprinting by Khirkee 17 and upcycled goods by Green the Map.
Public performances in the Jamun Wala Park took place over the weekend. The Khirkee Ensemble, an international band of musicians from Khirkee, had a concert. Young members of the community put on two short plays, Duniya Sabki and Kitaabein, made in collaboration with members of the Aagaaz Theatre Trust. There were also screenings of short music videos and films that were created as part of the Khirkee Storytelling Project.