Mumbai, Attend A Multidisciplinary Event Celebrating Womanhood & The Divine Feminine
In a world where devotion meets spirituality, where justice and sustainability are sought, and where cultures intertwine, there exists a central figure who embodies it all. She is the mother and protector for the devotee, the guide to inner transformation for the spiritual seeker, and the inspiration for those striving for a more balanced and just world. This enigmatic being, known by countless names and forms, transcends time and speaks to various traditions, from yogic and tantric to devotional and global new-age. In the Indian subcontinent, she is both the creator and the creation, the manifest and the unmanifest. In an era where ecological consciousness is of paramount importance, the interpretation of Mother Earth as the Sacred Feminine has become increasingly important. Also, in contemporary feminist pedagogy, the divinity of womanhood has been well celebrated.
With all that in mind, let us explore a powerful multidisciplinary event called 'GODDESS', a vibrant celebration of womanhood channeled through divinity. Presented by the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai and curated by Arundhathi Subramaniam, this two-day event is culturally and linguistically inclusive, bringing forth the diverse global invocations of the Sacred Feminine across different epochs. By paying homage to the Sacred Feminine, this festival aims to contribute to the global movement that seeks to reclaim a more inclusive legacy of culture and spirituality.
The festival embraces poetry translated from various languages, including Sanskrit, Pali, Khasi, Bengali, Gujarati, and Tamil. It pays homage to multiple goddesses, from Shakti to Mei Hukum, Aphrodite to Astarte, Demeter to Diana, Abhirami to Ambika, and Kali to Saraswati. The musical styles showcased range from the rousing Karnataka tradition celebrating Yellamma, the goddess of transgenders, to the joyous Gujarati garba sung by women in honor of multiple goddesses. The event encompasses a diverse range of tones and emotions, from adoration and ecstasy to complaint and rage, as the Goddess is sometimes rebuked by her lovers in the unique literary genre of ninda-stuti. The festival brings together a multitude of practitioners and perspectives, including poets, translators, musicians, theatre actors, and scholars.
Dr. Suvarnalata Rao, Head of Programming
Date: November 3
Venue: Godrej Dance Theatre
Session 1: 4:15 pm to 5:00 pm
Title: Goddess: A Metaphor Called Woman
Speaker: Devdutt Pattanaik
Distinguished mythologist, author, illustrator, and columnist, Devdutt Pattanaik, will delve into the use of male and female forms as tools to explain Vedic ideas and explore the non-gendered concepts embodied with gender.
Session 2: 5:00 pm to 5:20 pm
Title: This World That Was Created By Opening Your Eyes
Speaker: Mani Rao
Dr. Mani Rao, a scholar, poet, and translator of the iconic eighth-century Sanskrit poem Saundarya Lahari, will introduce the audience to the magic and power of the adoration and reverence dedicated to Shakti, the consort of Shiva.
Session 3: 5:20 pm to 6:10 pm
Title: I'll Rub Kali On My Face: Translating the Goddess
Speakers: Sampurna Chattarji, K Srilata, Mani Rao
Noted poet-translators will discuss the rewards and challenges of translating acclaimed Goddess poems, including the works of Ramprasad Sen, Subramania Bharati, and the nuances of the Saundarya Lahari.
Session 4: 6:30 pm to 6:45 pm
Seasoned Kathak exponent and actor, Aditi Bhagwat, will set the stage with a powerful invocation, choreographed by acclaimed dancer Sanjukta Wagh.
Session 5: 6:45 pm to 8:00 pm
Title: Yellamma and Other Stories: Wild Goddess of the Margins
Speakers: Shilpa Mudbi Kothakota & Adithya Kothakota
Filmmaker, theatre practitioner, and singer Shilpa Mudbi Kothakota, along with Adithya Kothakota, co-founder of the Urban Folk Project, will explore the myth of Yellamma, the deity of the devadasis and transgender disciples, through rousing folk music and thought-provoking discussions.
Date: November 4
Venue: Godrej Dance Theatre
Session 1: 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Title: Weaving and Being Woven: An Embodied Exploration
Workshop by Anitha Santhanam
Actor and dancer Anitha Santhanam will lead participants through a series of body-centered explorations rooted in the understanding of the body as a site of living wisdom, inspired by the Indian wisdom of Tantra.
Session 2: 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm
Title: Metre, Magic, Mother: An Introduction to Goddess Poetry Around the World
Speaker: Annie Finch
American poet and performer Annie Finch will take audiences on a whirlwind tour of goddess traditions worldwide, highlighting the interconnectedness of Metre, Magic, and Mother.
Session 3: 5:30 pm to 6:10 pm
Title: The Kingdom of Kali is Within Us Deep: The Goddess Unplugged
Speakers: Arundhathi Subramaniam, Shernaz Patel, Anahita Uberoi
Poet-curator Arundhathi Subramaniam will introduce audiences to a vibrant mosaic of goddess poems in translation from diverse parts of the Indian subcontinent while joined by theater actors Shernaz Patel and Anahita Uberoi.
Tickets (for Session 2 & 3): Rs.200/-
Session 4: 6:30 pm to 7:25 pm
Title: My Mother Awaits Me in the Charnel Ground: Shyama Sangeet and Nazrul Geeti
Speaker: Anol Chatterjee
Noted Hindustani vocalist Anol Chatterjee will share his passion for the Kali poems of great Bengali poets such as Ramprasad Sen, Kamalakanta Bhattacharya, and Kazi Nazrul Islam, among others, offering a dazzling weave of praise, longing, complaint, and mystic paradox.
Session 5: 7.25 pm to 8.30 pm
Title: Garba: The Womb of the Goddess
The festival reaches its peak with the vibrant garba dance of Gujarat. Talented performers Manasi Parikh and Parthiv Gohil, along with their troupe, take the audience on an exhilarating journey through the rhythmic expressions of the Goddess. Following the performance, there will be a discussion with the musicians.
Click here to book your tickets for GODDESS.
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