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Kartik Fine Arts
in association with Arangham Trust
presented EPIC WOMEN
Conference / Performance conclave
Natya Darshan Seminar
December 20 - 23, 2012 Chennai
email: epicwomen12@gmail.com

Kartik Fine Arts in association with Arangham Trust presented EPIC WOMEN - A conclave of talks, presentations and performances focusing on iconic women in myth, history, literature and life.
December 20 to 23, 2012 Chennai, India

Epics recount histories of nations via long narrative poems conveying the roles played by men, women, and gods along with creatures of the animal and spirit worlds. Among this multitude in epics, we focus on the concept of the "epic" from ancient to modern times.

We embraced and welcomed a variety of epic women - characters in Indian and Greek epics such as Sita, Savitri, and Helen of Sparta, dramatic figures such as Kannagi and the remarkable women of the Silppadikaram, artistic figures such as Frida Kahlo, historical and political figures who assume "epic" proportions for their courage and leadership in struggles for their communities in various geographical locations.

Our discussions, through academic papers and formal performances, focussed on positive figures of monumental women from the past and present who have impact and resonance on humanity such as the incredible, indeed "epic" courage of opposition political activist Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma (now Myanmar), winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, who spent 15 of the past 21 years under house arrest until her recent release. Along with the admirable models of courage and resistance to oppression, we also examined "Dark Women" in the epics - such as Surpanaka of The Ramayana, or the Greek drama representing Medea. Such women remind us of the seamy side of human nature in their larger than life passions of lust and violence. Other examples of epic women include political figures such as Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher among others who did not always use their power wisely or with moderation. The unique South Asian phenomenon of wives, widows, mothers, daughters and sisters who assume political power after the elimination of a male power within family was also examined.

We consider epic figures that are part of our common human unconscious such as powerful women in literary representation as in Shakespearean, Greek, ancient Sanskrit, Medieval Tamil and Modern Indian performance; and in political life, women national leaders and their exercise of power..

Performances / paper presentations that undertook comparative and cross-cultural perspectives, engage with "epic women" ranging across time lines and locations - from the world's recognized epics - India's Ramayana and Mahabharata, Greece's Iliad and Odyssey along with myths, legends, and creation stories worldwide that take on epic dimensions.

EPIC WOMEN had three mornings of papers and short dramatic presentations from Dec 21 to 23 at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chennai.

On December 23, at 10am, a LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD was conferred on Kathak GURU Dr. MAYA RAO of Bangalore, felicitated by PADMA SUBRAHMANYAM.

Each evening there were three performances in the medium of classical, neo classical and dance theatre style in a formal auditorium setting.

A special curtain raiser show on Dec 20 featured REVATHY SANKKARAN's Harikatha on MS AMMA-MANIKKAVEENA on MS SUBBALAKSHMI.

- Dr. Anita R Ratnam
Convenor and Artistic Director

Conference on Epic Women: Participants speak

Curator & Convener: Dr. Anita R Ratnam
Academic Advisor: Dr. Ketu H Katrak

Schedule
DEC 20: EVENING 
5.45 – 6.45pm: REVATHY SANKKARAN (Chennai) presents MS AMMA-MANIKKAVEENA, HARIKATHA on MS SUBBALAKSHMI.


DEC 21: MORNING
9.45am: Short welcome by Dr. Anita Ratnam
9. 55am: Drumming by Adishakti drummers from Pondicherry. Recreated from Adishakti's larger work ‘Ganapati,’ ARDHAKUNJANARISHWARA accommodates the feminine element of Ganapati, the deity of auspicious beginnings
10.10am: Inauguration by Mr. L. Sabaretnam (Chairman of Kartik Fine Arts)
10.20am: Welcome address by Dr. ANITA RATNAM (Founder-Artistic Director, Arangham Trust)
10.30am: Keynote address by Dr. PREMA NANDAKUMAR (Srirangam)
11am: Dr. SWARNAMALYA GANESH (Chennai) speaks on WOMANITY-SELFHOOD AND TENACITY AS KEYNOTES FOR SANGAM WOMEN
11.25am: Coffee break
11.40am: SUDHARMA VAITHIYANATHAN (Chennai) presents SITA (Bharatanatyam)
12pm: PANEL ON SITA on her many personas
12.15pm to 1pm: Intro to the panelists followed by PANEL ON SITA
KAPILA VENU (Irinjalakuda) on SITA
Theatre director VEENAPANI CHAWLA (Pondicherry) on SITA
CS LAKSHMI (Mumbai) also known as Ambai talks on IMAGINING SITA: WHEN BODIES BECOME LANDSCAPES

DEC 21: EVENING
5pm: PRIYA MURLE & SRIKANTH NATARAJAN (Chennai) present AMBA SHIKHANDI from Mahabharata (world premiere, Therukoothu & Sthree Vesham), a tale of cross gender revenge
6.15pm: RAJIKA PURI (New York) presents ELENI OF SPARTA: AN INDO-GREEK RETELLING (world premiere, dance theatre and storytelling)
7.30pm: MYTHILI PRAKASH (USA / Chennai) and AMRITHA MURALI in YASHODARA (world premiere, Bharatanatyam dance theatre), presented by JustUs Repertory, directed by Gowri Ramnarayan


DEC 22: MORNING
9.45am: Welcome address by Dr. ANITA RATNAM
9.55am:  Dr. NEENA PRASAD (Thiruvananthapuram) presents SURPANAKA: A PASSION DISGRACED, WOMANLINESS MORTIFIED!
10.20am: Playwright MAHESH DATTANI (Mumbai) will speak on A WOMAN SCORNED
11am: Coffee break
11.20am: CHITRA SUNDARAM (London) presents a performative paper STHREE-DOM: AN IMMACULATE CONCEPTION (World premiere, on ARUNDATI, wife of the Vedic sage Vasishtha, and PENELOPE, the wife of the Greek warrior Odysseus)
11.50am: Introduction to EPIC WOMEN IN INDIAN DANCE:
Moderators: Dr. Anita Ratnam & Dr. Avanthi Meduri
12pm to 1pm: KATHERINE KUNHIRAMAN (USA) speaks on RUKMINI DEVI
NANDINI RAMANI (Chennai) speaks on T BALASARASWATI 
PADMINI CHETTUR (Chennai) speaks on THE HONEST BODY - REMEMBERING CHANDRALEKHA
SUKANYA RAHMAN (USA) speaks on MY MOTHER INDRANI RAHMAN

DEC 22: EVENING
5pm: PREETI VASUDEVAN’s Thresh (New York) presents SAVITRI - DANCING IN THE FOREST OF DEATH (World premiere, Contemporary Dance Theatre)
KALPANA RAGHURAMAN (Holland) presents IN THE SPIRIT OF FRIDA (World premiere, Produced by Korzo Productions, the Netherlands)
6.15pm: GEETA CHANDRAN (New Delhi) presents GANDHI - WARP AND WEFT, a woman's perspective on Gandhi's philosophy (dance theatre)
7.30pm: KAPILA VENU (Irinjalakuda) presents SITA PARITHYAGAM: THE ABANDONMENT OF SITA (Nangiarkoothu)


DEC 23: MORNING
7.30 – 8.30am: LIGHT AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, Anil Srinivasan on grand piano, Viji Krishnan Natarajan on violin. Children from different schools in Chennai provide a finale from Andal’s Tiruppavai.
9.45am: Welcome address by Dr. ANITA RATNAM
10am: Conferring of NATYA CHUDAR AWARD on Deepika Potarazu
Conferring LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD on Kathak Guru Dr. MAYA RAO (Bangalore)
Felicitations by PADMA SUBRAHMANYAM, acceptance speech by Guru Maya Rao
11am: coffee break
11.20am: ANDRÉE GRAU (UK) talks on MRINALINI SARABHAI – COSMOPOLITAN PATRIOT AND EPIC WOMAN, includes screening a short clip from latest documentary on Mrinalini Sarabhai
11.50am: ANUSHA SUBRAMANYAM (London) presents GOLDEN PEACOCK (world premiere, on AUNG SAN SUU KYI of Burma) 
12.20pm: PLENARY SESSION
Dr. KETU H KATRAK (USA) on MAGICAL CONNECTIONS AMONG WOMEN WITH EPIC PASSIONS: MEDEA, LADY MACBETH, SURPANAKA
 AMMU JOSEPH (Bangalore) on EPIC WOMEN IN POLITICS
Dr. KALPANA RAM (Sydney) on THE POWER OF PERFORMANCE AND HUMAN AGENCY: SOME QUESTIONS FOR FEMINIST EVALUATIONS OF EPIC WOMEN

DEC 23: EVENING
5pm: RAJASHREE SHIRKE and group (Mumbai) present MATA HIDIMBA (Ranga Nritya)
6.15pm: LAKSHMI VISHWANATHAN (Chennai) presents PULAMBAL – ANGUISHED VOICE (world premiere,  on Rama’s mother KOUSALYA and Krishna’s mother DEVAKI)
7.30pm: URMILA SATYANARAYANAN (Chennai) presents PANCHALI SAPATHAM

Kartik Fine Arts: 24997788 / 90948 29675

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