A cultural festival by women, for women, will be hosted in Bengaluru
A few months ago, when Sandhya Mendonca attended an art workshop, something disturbed her deeply. What bothered Sandhya, a well-known writer and publisher in the city, was the fact that instead of objectively appreciating artworks by all participants, only the work by male participants got highlighted. "Despite the fact that one of the women's work was better, her husband's work was appreciated a lot more," says Sandhya. Though one might dismiss this as a stray incident, for Sandhya, it became a talking point about how even in the world of art, women are being left out.
This became one of the reasons for Sandhya to think of Under The Raintree, a first-of-its-kind arts and culture festival organised by women, for women but open to all. The three-day event will have with 150 women participants - writers, artistes, poets, musicians, dancers, filmmakers and others - who will present their work and initiate a dialogue on the theme 'Culture As A Change Agent'.
As the festival director, Sandhya has roped in distinguished women from different fields to curate segments of the festival. "I think this festival is a culmination of many other progressive things that I have been involved in. This idea had been on my mind ever since we published a book 'She' on Women's Day three years ago. Every person who had worked on the book was a woman. Since then, we have been doing different things for women but Under The Raintree was like a dream, something I was keen to do," she says.
An art exhibition, film screenings, dance and music performances, panel discussions on various topics and plays will be staged during the three days. The theme of the festival - culture as a change agent has been kept in mind while curating the shows and discussions. "We are trying to find a dialogue through the art form, so we present pieces that speak of feminism in their own way," says Madhu Natraj Kiran, acclaimed dancer and choreographer, and curator of the dance segment at the festival. The dance showcase features Natya STEM Dance Kampni, Attakalari and other well-known dancers such as Vyjayanthi Kashi, Anuradha Virkranth and others.
Singer MD Pallavi will be present an original composition, while Arundhati Raja's On My Own - a theatrical presentation of prose and poetry will be staged. These are just the highlights of the festival that will also have panel discussions. "One the discussions is about how women are pushing the boundaries in literature and are writing humour, crime mysteries and are exploring the war genre," shares Sandhya. In addition, there will be film screenings and a special Culture for children segment that includes a music presentation by SaPa Academy and performances of folk dances such as karaga kolata, kangil and nagari.
November 17-19. At Ravindra Kalakshetra. Entry free for day events. Entry for performances (Rs 249 upwards) on bookmyshow.com