Caravanserai: A place where cultures meet


Caravanserai: A place where cultures meet creates new pathways for Americans to experience the diversity of contemporary Muslim artistic expressions by introducing U.S. audiences to exciting and dynamic artists from the Muslim world. The Caravanserai 2014-2015 season features week-long residencies accompanying performances by two unique music ensembles—a dynamic group representing the diversity of modern Malaysia and a renowned troupe performing an ancient tradition—along with an innovative collaboration between 15 Malaysian contemporary filmmakers.

Caravanserai: A place where cultures meet is produced by Arts Midwest on behalf of the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations with leadership support from the Building Bridges Program of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. Caravanserai’s film and media programming is coordinated on behalf of the program by South Arts. The Rialto Center is partnering with the Georgia Humanities Council and the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s ONE REGION to expand the programmatic reach into other communities.


Diplomats of Drum

  • October 23, 2014, 7 pm, Free and Open to the Public

Diplomats of Drum are a high-energy percussion-driven global music fusion band with distinct Malaysian flair. The band is a celebration of Malaysia’s unique melting-pot of cultures with Malay, Chinese, Indian, Punjabi, Kelabit (Borneo), Iban (Borneo) ethnicities and all of Malaysia’s 13 different states represented in its 16 member lineup. Diplomats of Drum describe their genre as “music without borders” in which traditional Malaysian folk songs and percussion styles merge with the global musical influences of each band member’s unique ethnic and cultural heritage. More information…


  • January 29-31, 2015

15Malaysia is a groundbreaking project featuring short films by 15 Malaysian filmmakers and produced by noted Malaysia-based musician, actor, and filmmaker Pete Teo. These films examine sociopolitical issues central to modern Malaysian society, from corruption and freedom of speech to racism, religion, and cultural identity. In multi-racial Malaysia public expressions on race, religion, and politics are often regarded as taboo and subject to media censorship, 15Malaysia is groundbreaking. Check closer to the event date for performance and workshop schedules.

Wayang Kulit – The Shadow Puppet Play of Kelantan

  • March 1-8, 2015

In this ancient form of puppet theatre, the shadows of intricately carved leather puppets are projected onto a screen. The shadow plays are based on the Ramayana, an age-old Hindu epic that has become a treasured folk tale across Malaysia. Wayang Kulit Siam, the adaptation of the shadow plays practiced in the Muslim villages of the Kelantan region, is considered a cultural treasure in Malaysia. Check back closer to the event date for performance and workshop schedules.

“The name Caravanserai was carefully selected for this program.  Historically, in the east and middle-east, stopping places for caravans along trade routes were called caravenserais.  They were safe places to sit around the fire, come together, and exchange stories.  The name evokes that imagery of travelers in a safe haven…We’re delighted that the Rialto Center for the Arts is providing one of those stopping places for an exciting cultural experience.”David Fraher, President & CEO of Arts Midwest