Tradition as Transgression

Female religious iconography in contemporary performance art

Contemporary interpretations of Hindu iconography, specifically of the goddess Kali, who is the primary deity worshipped in my birthplace Kolkata, have become emblematic in my individual and possibly idiosyncratic performance practice. Fundamental to my methodology, is my adoption of Kali iconography in protesting misogynist attitudes and atrocities committed against women and girls, particularly in India, as an example of similar misogyny in other countries.
This presentation covers a background of my performance practice including my doctoral performance Urban Kali, 2017.The premise of my research was to ask how sacred Hindu iconography in traditional Indian classical dance might translate to secular, feminist performance. The exegesis, Urban Kali, from Sacred dance to secular performance established my relationship to Goddess Kali phenomena as my cultural milieu both past and present, and situated my practice in the context of other global practitioners.

Presented at

  • Decolonising Embodiment lecture series, Helsinki University 2021
  • Dept. of Performance Studies, Sydney University 2019
  • Airspace Projects basemetal performance papers 2018
  • BOLD festival and conference National Library Canberra 2017
  • Dance Massive Open Studio, Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne 2017