In its sixth consecutive year, the event aims to bring artists, academics, and organisers across disciplines together to explore the theme of resilience in the arts through performance, critical dialogue, and art experiences. “The festival focuses on the shift in the landscape of performing arts in the post-COVID future. We have seen how artists have adapted during this period. The pandemic has accelerated the transition from live performances to online platforms but has also left behind many rural arts and artists when it comes to the digital economy. Artists today have no choice but to be technicians, lighting experts, video editors, copywriters, marketing experts and the hosts of their reality shows on social media. Utsavam aims at exploring the shift in the performance scenario through its insightful discussions and experiential events. It also hopes to seek strategies for a financially stable future for any artist or arts organization and learning as a collective community,” says Gita Hudson, the curator of the show.
Shreya Nagarajan Singh, who is part of the festival, tells us, “This two-day event will be global with participants from across the world. On March 27, we will be having virtual events that include sessions on strategies for audience development, how innovation in the arts will lead the way forward. On the same day, there will be yakshagaana performance by Idagunji Mahaganapati and troupe. On day 2 (March 28) all the events will be hosted at DakshinaChitra Museum itself. There will be a live performance by Isaivani and a meme-making workshop by the anonymous podcaster and meme creator, Haashiraama Senju.”
One of the interesting aspects of Utsavam 2021 will be the open house experiences the organisers have created. “We have taken each house in DakshinaChitra and have done a different art installation or experience. You can see a live shoot for an Instagram reel, a 6-minute film on jamakkalam will be playing in the weaver’s house, there will be a performance by Karnataka folk musician, a meditation room in one of the Kerala houses and so on,” adds Shreya.