Swirling Waters, Churning emotions

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | KATHELENE ANTONY
Published Feb 5, 2019, 1:53 am IST
Updated Feb 5, 2019, 1:53 am IST
Yama subtly speaks of marginalisation, skin colour and racism in both Australia and India and the struggles that come with being a woman.
In the end, all these different worlds meet in an exchange of movements, forms and finally in the churning of the ocean, drawn from Indian mythology.
 In the end, all these different worlds meet in an exchange of movements, forms and finally in the churning of the ocean, drawn from Indian mythology.

Chennai: “I wish I were one of you,” says Gina Maree Bundle, holding on to her possum skin rug as she listens to the various reasons they decided to dance. “I cannot dance but my rug lends itself to this wonderful narrative, for which I’m grateful,” she says.

Gina was a child of what is called the ‘Stolen Generation,’ where aboriginal families were split apart by churches or government because they were not “truly Australian. She, along with Nadine Lee, from the Larrakia Healing group and Sylvia Nulpinditj from the Galpu clan in Arnhem travelled along with Priya Srinivasan, a renowned diasporic Bharatanatyam dancer to explore the colonial and cultural ties that bring the two countries together through Australia Fest, organised by the Australian High Commission to India.

 

With a white feather in her hand, Sylvia enacts “water,” “voyage,” and “wind,” and the Indian dancers, including Priyadarshini Govind, follow. The thread that connects these acts together is the interactions with Chennai-based
kattaikoothu performer, Thilagavathi, who is dressed as Yama, the lord of the underworld.

Yama subtly speaks of marginalisation, skin colour and racism in both Australia and India and the struggles that come with being a woman. “You look just like my mother,” says Yama to Sylvia. “Yes, it is possible that people from your land travelled by sea and reached Australia,” says Sylvia in response.

In the end, all these different worlds meet in an exchange of movements, forms and finally in the churning of the ocean, drawn from Indian mythology. Speaking about the performance and its conceptualisation, Priya Srinivasan said that it was a long time coming. “We performed as part of a larger Asia festival in Australia. But for me, I didn’t want it to be a one-time thing. I wanted people in both countries to value the thread that binds us all,” she says. What we then came up with is an interactive- performance like no other. “Audiences have to prepare to come and walk around and meet our worlds. It’s not a sit-down event. You have to be a part of it,” she signs off. Chennai: “I wish I were one of you,” says Gina Maree Bundle, holding on to her possum skin rug as she
listens to the various reasons they decided to dance. “I cannot dance but my rug lends itself to this wonderful narrative, for which I’m grateful,” she says.

Gina was a child of what is called the ‘Stolen Generation,’ where
aboriginal families were split apart by churches or government because they were not “truly Australian. She, along with Nadine Lee, from the Larrakia Healing group and Sylvia Nulpinditj from the Galpu clan in Arnhem travelled along with Priya Srinivasan, a renowned diasporic Bharatnatyam dancer to explore the colonial and cultural ties that bring the two countries together through Australia Fest.

With a white feather in her hand, Sylvia enacts “water,” “voyage,” and “wind,” and the Indian dancers, including Priyadarshini Govind, follow. The thread that
connects these acts together is the interactions with Chennai-based
kattaikoothu performer, Thilagavathi, who is dressed as Yama, the lord of the underworld.

Yama subtly speaks of marginalisation, skin colour and racism in both Australia and India and the struggles that come with being a woman. “You look just like my mother,” says Yama to Sylvia. “Yes, it is possible that people from your land travelled by sea and reached Australia,” says Sylvia in response.

In the end, all these different worlds meet in an exchange of movements, forms and finally in the churning of the ocean, drawn from Indian mythology.

Speaking about the performance and its conceptualisation, Priya Srinivasan said that it was a long time coming. “We performed as part of a larger Asia festival in Australia. But for me, I didn’t want it to be a one-time thing. I wanted people in both countries to value the thread that binds us all,” she says. What we then came up with is an interactive- performance like no other. “Audiences have to prepare to come and walk around and meet our worlds. It’s not a sit-down event. You have to be a part of it,” she signs off.

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