Marginalised find a voice through performing arts

IANS| Last Updated: Mar 10, 2014, 20:46 PM IST

New Delhi: Myriad complexities of a long distance relationship, personal struggles where one loses sense of self or stifled voices of the marginalised -- a three-day festival in the capital that began Monday will narrate various tales of displacement in a modern Indian society.

Focussing on the theme of displacement, the 38th Vikram Sarabhai International Arts Festival aims to create awareness amongst people regarding this neglected issue through the performing arts. It is being held at the Sri Ram Centre and entry is free for the public.

The organisers -- Gujarat-based Darpana Academy of Performing Arts (DAPA) -- have deliberately stayed away from using the subject of regular stories of displacement through industrialisation, mining, big dams and economic and political reasons, and instead have brought in emotional elements to relate to the audience.

"The stories told here talk of displacement of a different kind. Today, we are living in a society wearing masks given by our brand managers and do what our society wants us to do. In this process of displacement, we are demonising ourselves," Mallika Sarabhai, danseuse and founder of DAPA, told IANS.

"This sense of displacement makes us misogynist, angry and restless," she added.

The festival will open with the show "LDR" that explores complexities and displacement brought about by long distance relationship, and will ask the audience -- "How can we find togetherness when living apart and on the move?"

Sarabhai will perform March 11 and 12 in the shows -- "Unearthed" and "The Dammed" -- the first asking the audience to look into souls for answers and the second concentrating on bringing forth stifled voices of the marginalised community.

The festival was launched in 1974. This year, the dance institute is collaborating with London-based Dutch choreographer Naomi Deira.

"Marginalised communities are living in deplorable conditions in many parts of India as nothing much has been done by the government to rehabilitate them. This is an issue no one is talking about," she said.

"India is one of the few countries that doesn`t have a proper rehabilitation policy for the displaced community. We hope to bring awareness about this subject through our festival," she added.

From here, the festival will go to Mumbai. It has already been held in Ahmedabad and Pune.