Kolkata, Indian born and Sydney based multidisciplinary performance artist, Dr. Rakini Devi explores cultural identity as an artist originating from the East and located in the West. Trained in two forms of Indian classical dance, Bharatanatyam and Odissi, Dr. Devi’s Kalika Dance Company 1991-1998 integrated classical Indian dance forms into a contemporary context. Her practice-led research integrates both Indian and western performance techniques, creating her own idiosyncratic performance language and aesthetic. Devi’s work centres on female religious iconography as protest against global misogynist atrocities including female infanticide, dowry deaths and femicide. Her current repertoire includes The Female Pope (Sydney, New York, Sweden), The Widow, Kali Madonna, The Black Madonna and her doctoral presentation Urban Kali (2017).

Dr. Devi’s 2001 Australia Council Dance Fellowship, amongst other awards and subsequent overseas residencies and performances, contributed towards her practice and exploration of new intercultural performance methodologies. She was guest lecturer in dance at (WAAPA & UNWS), and has conducted workshops internationally.

In March 2018, Devi completed a Doctor of Creative Arts (DCA) at Wollongong University. Her practice led research explores and situates her performance of sacred Hindu iconography within a contemporary Western culture, culminating in her new work Urban Kali, (premiered September 2017 at the Lennox Riverside Theatres, Parramatta) and in her thesis: Urban Kali, From Sacred Dance to Secular Performance

In 2019, she traveled to India for two months, where she presented Two Madonnas with Violeta Luna at the Tantidhatri Live Art Festival for Women in Kolkata, as well as taught at the National School of Drama in Delhi.

In April, she was resident artist at The Lock Up, Newcastle, presenting her video installation and performance of Urban Kali. She was also a recipient of a Critical Path Responsive residency, exploring her theme of The Body as Archive with video artist Karl Ford. In May 2019, she presented Kali Madonna at Artbar at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.

A few highlights are listed below:

  • 2001-2002 Australia Council Dance Fellowship, Sydney, New York.
  • 2001 Tokyo Asialink Keiko Takaya Dance O1, host Kei Te Kei (12 weeks).
  • 2002 Tokyo Next Wave Festival, Calcutta Manga Dance performance.
  • 2003 CanadaToronto FIIDA (Independent Dance Festival) (2 weeks).
  • 2003 New York Calcutta Manga dance performance Future Human Studios, Brooklyn, NY.
  • 2004 Sydney Kali Yuga Dance production produced by WSDA, Lennox Theatre, Parramatta, with a cast of 17 dancers, film by Sam James.
  • 2005 Sydney Threshold Dance performance with four dancers and live music by Dr. Darren Moore, Lennox Theatre.
  • 2006 Brisbane Time.Place.Space Performance Laboratory, facilitated by Performance Space. 2007 India Asialink Adi Shakti & Nrityagram (12 weeks) Dance Artist in residence.
  • 2007 USA: Australia Council Skills Development residency with Guillermo Gomez Pena’s La Pocha Nostra (5 weeks).
  • 2008 Disturbing Elements CDG Australia Council with dancer Kenny Feather and photographer Mayu Kanamori, showing at Carlton Courthouse, Melbourne.
  • 2009 Indonesia: PALA International Lab and Live Art Festival, Curated by Melati Suryodumo and Boris Nieslony, including dance performances in Bali and Solo, Indonesia.
  • 2010 Sweden: Friction International Live Art Festival, conference & performances at Stockholm Modern Dance Theatre for Asian Body Festival.
  • 2013 Sydney The Female Pope, Carriageworks, program by Performance Space.
  • 2014 Mexico City: Collaboration with Violeta Luna (8 weeks) and performance of The Two Madonnas at Ex Teresa Museum.
  • 2015 Bundanon UFO (Unidentified Female Object) residency and dance performance at Siteworks, Bundanon Trust.
  • 2017 Urban Kali Doctoral presentation produced by UOW and FORM dance, Lennox Theatre, Parramatta.
  • 2018 Completed a DCA (Doctor of Creative Arts) at UOW, graduation ceremony in April 2019.
  • 2019 India Performance of The Two Madonnas at Tantidhatri Festival Kolkata, India with Violeta Luna.
  • 2019 Newcastle, NSW, The Lock Up residency and video installation for Known Unknown & Dance Performance.
  • 2019 Sydney Critical Path multidisciplinary research residency with Karl Ford: The Body as Archive.
  • 2019 Kali Madonna two -hour durational dance performance for Artbar, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.
  • 2019 Newcastle Dance studio residency at Catapult studios in partnership with Critical Path.
  • FB Performance Page for current news https://www.facebook.com/Rakini-Devi-Performance-151637274897826/

Facebook Performance Page for current news: https://www.facebook.com/Rakini-Devi-Performance-151637274897826/

Video Links

Urban Kali (Promo) By Karl Ford

Urban Kali: Preview
Kali Iconography as performance ritual
by Rakini Devi
Performer, Choreography, Concept, Text & Vocals: Rakini Devi
Film Production, Photography, Music Composition & Sound Design: Karl Ockelford

Copyright©2018 Rakini Devi & Karl Ockelford

Rakini Devi Dance Show Reel 2015

This 8.55 min show reel show casing my dance style, demonstrates my use of film as artistic device for the implementation of choreographic ideas.

Rakini Devi Female Iconography

Show cases my live art practice.

U.F.O Unidentfied Female Object

Siteworks 2015, Bundanon residency and performance installation

Trained in two forms of Indian classical dance, Bharatanatyam and Odissi, Devi’s current contemporary work centres on female religious iconography as protest against global misogynist atrocities including female infanticide, dowry deaths and femicide. Her practice-led research integrates both Indian and western performance techniques, creating her own idiosyncratic performance language and aesthetic.

In March 2018, Devi completed a Doctor of Creative Arts (DCA) at Wollongong University. Her practice led research explores and situates her performance of sacred Hindu iconography within a contemporary Western culture, culminating in her new work Urban Kali, (premiered September 2017 at the Lennox Riverside Theatres, Parramatta) and in her thesis: Urban Kali, From Sacred Dance to Secular Performance