The birth of the concept of ‘Travelling Art – Translations in the Making’ rests in the origins of conversations held between a few eminent dancers, organizers and social engineers in Sydney. Its purpose was initially outlined and precisely explained as ‘To bring artists together in the region and beyond to speak and validate their creative thoughts in a shared setting and to consider ways in which the artistic creative pursuit can be channeled to address larger social causes’.
That preamble said it all with an emphasis on creativity. Performing Arts is a fluid constantly creative stream of ideas framed within a discipline. Be that a discipline of movie making, drama, theatre, music, poetry or dance. We see attempts by artists to use all or more of these forms within one or more of these disciplines. The lines between these various genres are increasingly becoming obscure or united depending on performance perception.
Sydhwaney Productions effectively created a forum so envisioned under the auspices of Seva International – Social Cohesion in Diversity. This was a first modest attempt to bring artists from within the Australian South Asian background together in a forum where they could exchange ideas, experiment without fear and share their life’s artistic journeys and challenges. The four hour session was chaired by Kalpana Ram, Associate Prof of Anthropology Macquarie University and Dr Shanti Raman, Pediatrician and Dance Enthusiast on the 2 August 2015 at Information Cultural Exchange.
In the introductory opening of the session Om Dhungal of SEVA International said that it was “a proud moment for SEVA to welcome this eminent group of artists! SEVA is about empowering communities – to build and enhance community capacity by tapping into assets that exists within our respective communities”.
Truly innovative, the scene was set by Hamsa Venkat Govind Pillai and Vishaka Venkat in bringing to light through bharathanatyam environmental issues faced by modern man. The effective use of soundscapes incorporated as Namrata Pulapaka sang accompanied by Sanjay Ramaswamy on violin and Pallavan on Mridangam was interesting and novel. The presentation was successful in breaking language barriers and addressing climatic and environmental issues faced by modern man.
Jiva Parthiban talked about his journey into becoming a creative director and cinematographer from his beginnings as a Bharathanatyam dancer in the UK to Little Baghdad a production an initiative of Auburn City Council and STARTTS.
Shrikant Subramaniam’s compelling theatrical solo performance successfully embraced the art of the ‘spoken word’. Accompanied by the voice of Sanjay Ramaswamy it tugged at the hearts of this predominantly migrant audience. His telling performance took the western dramatic technique of spoken word made relevant to Bharathanatyam in a presentation titled ‘Who ? Who is looking back?’. A most enjoyable innovative and rewarding experience.
Aruna Gandhi explored her migrant journey as a Bharathanatyam dancer from local community performances to performing at Blacktown Hospital to her journey on the yellow brick road. She touched on one of the important issues – the manner in which art and its practice can be used in medical and health related forums.
Annalouise Paul, flamenco dancer known for her physically intense and energetic performances in Isabel in 2008 shared her ideas and ideals through her various works including ‘Mother Tongue’, with many emotional moments.
Ruchi Sanghi honored tradition in dedicating the time to the traditional pieces composed and choreographed by her Guru in the style of Kathak. Her students concluded the afternoon session with impressive percussive footwork.
Despite the fact that the forum was open to a larger audience we saw it patronised by mainly friends and families of the performers. However a few of those patrons who strolled in after having read about the symposium gave us very encouraging responses. Calling the experience of the afternoon ‘eye opening’, inspiring and ‘feeling of being included’ and most of all looking forward to more such events.
Sydhwaney is looking for funding opportunities so that excellence can be developed within the community without having the overwhelming need to make the process sustainable through the sale of tickets.
The symposium aims to hold performance based informative afternoons. To encourage dialogue, intercultural exchanges without compromising on authentic traditional practices, encourage and develop community talent and imagination.
We seek monetary support from individuals, government agencies, businesses. Interested parties may email sydhwaney at gmail.com.