Spaces for Critical Practice

A platform for artists to share questions and concerns
about their practice through performance

What was it
about ? 25410

Pickle Factory has always attempted to create spaces to critically examine dance practice and further discourse. And Ghare Baire invited us to partner with them at the start of 2021 to create just such a space in the city. Ghare Baire was an exhibit curated by DAG and housed in the beautiful, historic and colonial Currency Building, in the heart of Dalhousie Square. The partnership was built on a like-minded drive for art, dialogue and repurposed spaces which is at the core of all things Pickle Factory.

Performing (in) Potloi 25410

We invited applications to investigate traditional dance forms and what patterns or cliches were hidden, obscured or ignored by them. Two young Manipuri dancers were selected who, through their piece titled ‘Performing (in) Potloi’ interrogated questions on the dancing female body in the Manipuri tradition and what role colonial history had in the contents evolution of the elaborate Potloi costume.

Through performance interwoven with context on form and evolution of the costume Kankana Singh and Tanisha Bhadury analysed the Potloi – which hid between its folds a history of suppression of the female body. The gallery space, chosen by the artists, had incredible paintings depicting Krishna and Durga, and served as the perfect juxtaposition of art forms as the Manipuri dancers brought to life the same iconic characters through their choreographic stories

Following the two performances we had an open discussion moderated by Nandita Palchoudhuri (International Consultant-Curator of Indian folk art, craft & performances) and Sumona Chakravarty (Deputy Director, DAG Museums & Artist), respectively. This gave time and space for the audience to react to the presentation and delve deeper into historical and geographical background, context, and gain practical and humourous insight into what it’s like to perform in a potloi.

Darshan – Do You See What I See ?25410

Pickle Factory continued in the quest for answers to uncomfortable questions through the Spaces for Critical Practice series programmed in collaboration with DAG. The artist for the second edition was young and upcoming Bharatanatyam dancer Sourami Mukherjee who presented pieces in a 30 min presentation titled Darshan: Do You See What I See? in the extremely uncommon venue of the Painting Gallery of Indian Museum. With elegance and inquisitiveness, Sourami effortlessly displayed the various margams and mudras of the age-old dance form all the while taking inspirations from folklore, Rabindranath Tagore’s creation and even went to the extent of exploring the allegory of Plato’s Cave.

She started her creative exploration with the very important line having a look into the truth by delving into the reality which is apparent and that segued into an open discussion moderated by Madhuja Mukherjee, Sourami responded to questions like the relevance of sticking to the shastras and the rigidity surrounding the associated codified norms, the importance of bringing in the scientific temper into the artistic domain which is the primary cause of raising questions.

Pickle Factory Dance Foundation, Calcutta is a not-for-profit
company registered under Section 8 of The Companies Act, 2013.
The company was incorporated on 12 July 2017.

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