Conference at London
NAVADISHA 2000 (U K)
Presented by SAMPAD,(Founder-Director, Ms Piali Ray)
February 2000 Presentation by Anita Ratnam: The Challenges of Interculturalism and Collaboration
The Challenges of Interculturalism and Collaboration - An Excerpt
By ANITA RATNAM
At NAVADISHA 2000, UK
Collaboration for me has been the politics of “inclusion”. The automatic recognition of the 'other' is
not to presume that it is in any way inferior to mine, but it is an equal. The journey I must confess
was not without its own dangers... When I first started an international collaboration project in
choreography, I presumed that my culture was superior to my partner collaborator. My malaise
was evident although I did not know it at that time. I was suffering from an acute case of moral
piety. That was in 1993.
By the time it was 1997 I had travelled well along the highway of multiculturalism and devoured
western arts council terminology and all the anxiety of grant proposals which forced artistes to find
collaborators in order to survive even if they honestly did not want to do so...
In each of my collaborations, some of which have been miserable disasters and others euphorically
successful, I felt like I was floating in a bed of quicksand, unstable but still moving from one cultural
domain to another with ease. For me, to live in the process of collaboration is to live in the domain
of ideas, for ideas are the property of humanity.
My work has already been intersected by a German composer, a Puerto Rican actor, an Argentinian
musician, a Canadian photographer, an American choreographer, a Singaporean Director, a Tamil
sculptor, a Native American poet...
Today artists dare to cross intellectual frontiers as casually as geographic ones... The cultivation of
worldliness can only deepen and make more radical the idea of collaborations, openly welcoming
the wandering eye of the traveller to be more than a cultural tourist... not just make a work of art
but to open in the space of the two hours a window on their culture.
(Natya Kala Conference - 2000 & 2001)