Churning Waters, a research-based project that investigates Australia and India’s engagement from a feminist, post-colonial perspective.
“There are a lot of connections between India and Australia. The more research I did, I felt that the engagement between countries goes beyond the colonial or immigrant narratives. This was one of the reasons why Churning Waters developed,” she says.
Along with Carnatic musician Uthra Vijay who also forms part of the production, Priya realised that art is a means to enable people in both nations to perceive each other differently. “I work with indigenous women in Australia and Uthra and I began analysing who we are as Indian-Australians. Since both cultures have strong ideas of the feminine qualities of Earth and water, we have adapted this as a theme to understand connections, relationships with other species and ourselves,” adds Dr Srinivasan.
Churning Waters aims to make a contemporary statement by keeping folk and classical arts alive through experts in field like Bharatanatyam danseuse Priyadarshini Govind. She reveals that being a part of the project has been a humbling experience for her. “We’ve engaged with various artistes to look at caste, race and gender differences through performing arts. The diversity of people working together with each other to find common ground has been remarkable,” she tells us.
Audiences can get to experience interdisciplinary art practices that are a blend of contemporary, classical, folk, rural and urban practices and aesthetics of both countries. For instance, Gina Maree Bundle, a Yuin/Monero cultural leader from Australia working towards the reclamation of her traditional art and dance, is one of the artistes. “One of the things we found when developing and rehearsing Churning Waters was the similarities in words and stories of both our cultures, which made the learning together even more special. When I started this journey, I never dreamed it would lead me to be travelling to India, I still can’t quite believe it,” she says.
Some of the other artistes who will be performing are Green Kumar, Loganathan, Nadine Lee, Sonal Jain, Sylvia Nulpinditj and Thilagavathi. To watch the performance, visit DakshinaChitra, Muttukadu, East Coast Road, on February 3, at 4.30 pm.