In a world where industrialization has overshadowed the beauty of handmade crafts, there exists a group of artists who strive to revive the traditions and celebrate the artistry of papermaking. Inspired by Neeta Premchand's captivating book, Off the Deckle Edge, a collaborative performance by the Goa-based Omaggio Performing Company has emerged, capturing the essence of this remarkable journey through India's rich cultural heritage. Today we explore a mesmerizing performance, where contemporary dance, aerial arts, physical theatre, film, and sound intertwine to create a captivating narrative.
At the heart of this performance lies a profound homage to the karigars – the skilled craftspeople who have dedicated their lives to the art of papermaking. Their expertise and dedication are celebrated, reminding us of the importance of preserving traditions in our ever-evolving world. Through graceful movements and intricate choreography, the performers embody the spirit of these artisans, paying tribute to their invaluable contributions.
The performance unfolds as a visual symphony, with film projections and stunning visuals seamlessly blending with the live performance. The collaborative performance skillfully weaves together several mediums to create a multisensory experience. The audience is transported into a world where the delicate fibers of handmade paper come alive, evoking a sense of wonder and appreciation for this ancient craft.
The choice of an off-white palette for the garments, provided by the renowned fashion label Chola, in stark contrast to the vibrant and colorful canvas, adds a layer of symbolism to the performance. It represents the purity and simplicity associated with paper and natural fibers. As the dancers move gracefully across the stage, their movements reflect a range of emotions – from joy and excitement to introspection and contemplation. The performance becomes a visual representation of the journey undertaken by Neeta Premchand, as she explored the history and culture of papermaking in India.
The collaborative nature of this performance is evident in the seamless fusion of different art forms. The original music, composed and performed by the Omaggio Collective, sets the tone for each scene, enhancing the emotional depth of the performance. The aerialists, with their breathtaking acrobatics, add an ethereal quality to the narrative, symbolizing the transformative power of art. The performers, like shape-shifters, embody the essence of the book, bringing its pages to life through their movements.
Through dance, film, music, and visual art, the Omaggio Collective takes us on an evocative journey, reminding us of the importance of preserving our cultural heritage. As the performers gracefully navigate the stage, they invite us to appreciate the intricate craftsmanship and the stories woven within each sheet of paper. This performance is a testament to the power of art to transcend boundaries and connect us to our shared humanity.