Internationally renowned arts organisation Kinetika have launched Silk River, an ambitious project which explores the unique relationship between London and Kolkata through artistic exchange between communities along the Thames Estuary and India’s Hooghly River.

Silk River culminates in Sept-Dec 2017 with two river walks, where the stories of the 20 communities involved will be revealed to local, national and international audiences, through the reveal of 20 hand-painted Bengali silk scrolls and accompanying performances.

Dartford Borough Council Leader Jeremy Kite expressed his excitement at our town being a part of the project, “The prospect of celebrating our river connections and linking them to other communities was simply too good to miss, this is about our connection with other communities up and down the Thames, but also the links we have with other river communities around the globe.”

On Thursday 9th February from 6pm-8pm, Patachitra artists will visit the What If Gallery in Dartford to engage the local arts community in the Silk River programme.

The evening’s activities will inspire the design of Dartford’s very own silk scroll, illustrating specific stories connected to people in the borough, and partnering the town with a similar community that lies along the banks of the Hooghly River in India.


Patachitra is a unique folk tradition of visual storytelling accompanied by songs performed by the Patuas. The painters themselves are called Patua and bear the surname – Chitrakar. The paintings are mostly based on stories on mythology, social, historical or contemporary issues. The Patuas compose songs on the stories then paint to corroborate with the story which they unfurl and sing. This makes the Patuas lyricists, painters and singers all rolled into one.