Lord, have you forsaken me thus? – concept exploration on residence with Art Ecology, Bangalore

This piece was created during a two week residency at Good Earth Enclave in Bangalore, in association with the Art Ecology initiative (co-founded by Veena Basvarajaiah).

An experimental medium, Lord, have you forsaken me thus? is a query of nationalism, religion and identity, as viewed from my perspective as a first-generation Australian of Tamil South Indian descent.

 

Points to note in viewing this work are as follows:

1. The reference to ‘falling between nations’ in the first part of the piece refers to my unclaimed citizenship status at the time of my birth: as per my birth certificate, I was not deemed a citizen of Singapore when I was born there to my Indian parents (who were not Singaporean, but Indian citizens). However, due perhaps to bureaucratic processes, I was also not given an immediate status as an Indian citizen. Rather, it was specifically cited that my birth occurred within the Indian mission of the hospital. For a period of several months therein, my status buoyed untethered between these two nationalities. This is an occurrence I find curious and rife with questions, particularly considering the untethered statuses of so many people that are born in circumstances of severe displacement and humanitarian crises. How does this bureaucratic displacement at the time of birth impact a longer narrative of opportunity and identity-formation throughout ones life? More importantly, how many are born untethered that never receive citizenship? What does that make you? What have we learned this means?

2. The terms ‘new Gondwana-lands’  refers to the name of an ancient supercontinent from the Neoproterozoic period (550 million years ago), from which Australia and Antarctica are believed to have broken off from during the Cenozoic period. This reference is used rather than the term ‘Australia’, in homage to the ever-changing nature of nation states, land masses and continents, which are determined first and foremost by nature.

3. The format of the work is a poetic homage that addresses God (or the idea of God) directly, and via complaints to the ‘Sakhi’, or friend. This format is borrowed from the class of Bharatanatyam dance known as Padams. Padams employ the Sringara Rasa, and denote an emotional tone/expression of romantic love with God. Hence terms such as ‘Petal-lipped One’ or ‘Rubied Saviour’ are used in endearment towards the Godhead, as is commonly articulated in Tamil/Sankrit – English translations of Carnatic music. In this way, the poetry here mimics an English translation of an Indian song that has never existed.

A Note on Process:

Reflecting on my first video art piece, I am keen to improve my technical abilities in shooting and editing for future work. I am also interested in exploring possible narratives that can be articulated in the cross-section between prose, improvisation and video.

Having recorded the key movement aspect during a casual improvisation, with no intentions of using it for this piece, I am struck by the way in which performance and art-making practices speak to each other over a non-linear continuum and address the intention of the artist in unexpected and unplanned ways (that too, often subconsciously). Therapeutic art process often refer to this phenomena as ’emergence’ or ‘content-in-process’, whereby unbeknownst to the art-maker, a medium acts as a reflection or further of a sense or idea that is present within the artist.

Recording the secondary figure, depicting Bharatanatya mudras and movements, and adding this to the interaction with the primary figure, the relationship between the two bodies further serves to articulate the binaries within the performance of identity/ies. In this case, it is the propriety of the moods of ‘classical’ Indian dance in opposition to the casual abstractions of improvisation. Upon my first attempt to perform the piece entirely in a deconstructed Bharatanatyam style, it felt inauthentic to the work. Rather, the focus on my unconstructed self, my placid, introverted and ‘non-trying’ self, spoke to the intimacy of the subject-matter.

These thoughts fuel my ongoing inquiries into what this space of creation offers.

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MOKITA – a secular grieving ritual.

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A durational performance, a ritual, and an invitation, MOKITA is mourning in motion. Exploring grief, and the complex emotions arising from, but not limited to, environmental collapse, Mokita is a participatory, immersive and meditative experience where attendees are invited to submit their grieving to the space and to share in the catharsis

A Kilivila word from Papua New Guinea, meaning ‘the truth we all know, and have agreed not to talk about,’ MOKITA is a performance work that seeks to create a space dedicated to grieving, and asks how we maintain our humanity amongst a time of rapid destruction and change.

Performed by Luna Mrozik-Gawler, Nithya Iyer and Devika Bilimoria, accompanied by sound art by Amy Hanley, and supported by Nardine Keriakous,
MOKITA considers the global, environmental and personal grief arising from the  urgent and distressing circumstances that we are surrounded by everyday.

It considers the absence of contemporary, secular spaces to confront difficult emotions such as melancholy, rage or grief.

As Facebook-feeds flood with images of war-ravaged communities, beached whales, nuclear spills, screaming cattle, burning forests and rising waters, how are we to acknowledge this collective emotional trauma? Where are we to put this grief?

MOKITA aims to create a secular contemporary ritual space that answers this need.

 It exists as a salve for those unable to process or release their own sense of grief; whether it arises from situations commonly associated with mourning, such as a death, or is a result of any kind of change, or ongoing anxiety.

On the day of this seven hour ritual, participants are invited to confidentially offer their grief into the performance space to be carried through a meditative performative process.

The grief will be individually placed in native seed mottled clay by  participants, and at the conclusion of the ritual, will be planted in the soil surrounding Birdlands Reserve in Belgrave Heights.

In this way our grief, individual or collective, small or insurmountable, will be offered back to land as a contribution towards ongoing revegetation of the site.

BLACK KRSNA//LABOUR//SYDNEY 2016

“LABOUR” is representing the current state of BLACK | KRSNA. Spiritually, physically and emotionally. The sense of BLACK | KRSNA still being in the universal womb however experiencing a sense of birth. Contractions have already began, and the true identity is beginning to emerge.

Experimental performance to launch BLACK KRSNA collection LABOUR – full video here.

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BLACK BIRD – embodied poetry.

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Image: John E Photography

The Body SPEAKS

An exploration of the nexus of words and movement.
The language of the mind and mouth, meet the language of the body.
Meaning made by sounds, words and movement.
Dance which is literally lyrical
And poetry that is literally moving.
Sign language for the whole body.
Stories for all the senses.

Debut performance of BLACK BIRD – A collaborative performance piece with Luna Ma Narama.

Cecil Street Studios,
December 6th
66 Cecil Street, Brunswick

Hybrid Continent – El Beso De La Tierra, RMIT Storey Hall 25.9.2015

HYBRID CONTINENT (Continente Mestizo)
Contemporary Dance Performance/Ritual
Hybrid Continent ‘Continente Mestizo’ is a creative contemporary dance performance ‘Ritual’, fertile by our cultural heritage as contemporary Australians that celebrate the diverse cultural hybrids developing in our society. Inspired by AMA (Australian Multicultural Alliance) Inc. Art Director, Kathleen Gonzalez. The Hybrid Continent ‘Continente Mestizo’ showcases the sacred elements that preserve life (earth, water, wind, fire and ether) as our original essence. The Dance/Ritual explores themes such as identity, femininity, the universality of human beliefs and opportunities.

 

 

 

 

Andasha – Performance with Yarna Tribe at Regrowth Festival February 2015

Yarna aims to bring new myths into being, and to perform them as  accessible and  playful maps that can be lead back to the heart, and back to Spirit. As we perform we also act in our capacities as healers, holding space and allowing safe and sacred space for hearts and imaginations to unfurl. All myths are written, designed and choreographed by members of the collective.

ANDASHA is a story celebrating awakening, the genesis of life, and exploring our relationship with the Sun and Moon. This is a two part performance, both parts lasting approx. 1 hour. Early in the day the women of the tribe gather those who will listen and tell the great tale of woe that is ANDASHA, while two ceremonial dancers passionately and colourfully enact the myth.

At sunset the ceremonial procession is performed. A spectacle of movement and sound, the tribe walk with a great, sacred beast, performing a ceremony as old as their people. Once there was a time before the light when a great love and a great sadness birthed the Sun and the Moon to fill the darkness with life and movement. To honour the gift of life, and to repent the act of violence that separated the lovers across the sky, the Priests and Priestesses of the tribe walk the landscape endlessly, carrying messages between the two celestial bodies. You can read the full story of Andasha here

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With voices and drums, they sing the songs of worship and creation, while two dancers weave amongst the procession, performing the myth as it has been handed down generation to generation.   

Those who witness the procession are gifted with blessings and tokens and invited to join the ceremony, blessing the earth and trees as they are passed.

The tribe for ANDASHA includes

LUNA MA NARAMA – Shamanic Practicioner, Performer and creator

KAEL LOOF – Shamanic Practitioner and Performer and creator

SAM WELLS, Shamanic Practitioner, Performer

NITHYA IYER -Bharatanatyam dancer, Reiki  and movement meditation practitioner

DEVIKA BILIMOIRA – Bharatanatyam dancer, visual artist

TIM HEMSLEY – Imagination enthuiast, Performer

HEATHER MAY – Heart Space defender, Performer

LEASHY LOO COOPER- Reiki Practicioner, Intuitive healer, Performer

IZZY IVY – Reiki practicioner,  Intuitive healer, Performer

TOBIUS RAPHAEL MILLAR- Visionary, Healer, Performer