Baasha meets Kaala!! Like Godzilla meets King Kong! Well, actually it is Masalawala meets Koboi Balik Kampung! For Cowboys and Indians: Tokyo Edition, at Courtyard Hiroo on 11th May 2018 at 7pm, I am privileged to be collaborating with Masalawala (Hiroyoshi Takeda) who is an artist, a linguist, a South Indian chef and a renown Rajinikanth fan. With his support the performance will include –
1. An Auto-rickshaw (Signifier for the Film Baasha).
2. Mango Pachadi Dango (a traditional Japanese dumpling form with an Indian filling with the definitive Ayurveda flavours – sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, astringent) will be ritually offered to the Momotaro and then to a member of the audience. This symbol in taste (rasa) was conceived by Niranjan Rajah and developed by Masalawala.
3. Indian movie dancing by the SANDOSHAM Dance Team will performance to Oruvan Oruvan Mudhalali from the film ‘Muthu’,cheoreographed by Mikan Bindu.
Momotaro-san arrived in Vancouver today from San Francisco. He will be accompanying Jane, Tara, Durga and myself in May to perform in Tokyo. The Cowboys and Indians: Tokyo Edition performance will take place at 7 pm 11th May 2018 at Courtyard Hiroo, as part of a show titled ‘Home’ in the Expanded Field’. Momotaro-san will be back in Japan in time for Tango no Sekku (5th May) or ‘Boys Festival’ (now renamed Kodomo no Hi or Children’s Day) a day on which he is traditionally celebrated and honoured throughout the land. Momotaro or ‘Peach Boy’ is known to have been born of a giant peach found by an old and childless. Momotaro grows up and as a youth, he goes off on an adventure to overcome the Oni (ogres) on Onigashima (Ogre Island) and becomes a hero. Momotaro is, for the Japanese people, a symbol of boyhood, vitality, and valiance. He is also a martial figure.
Here is The Japan Times Listing for ‘Home in the Expanded Field’, Courtyard Hiroo, Tokyo, May 20018. This is a “group exhibition, with work by artists from Japan, Britain and Malaysia, ‘home’ is explored as an unstable or elusive concept. The connotations of security, belonging or familiarity, are taken to task by Hana Sakuma, John L Tran, Rie Iwatake & Jun’ya Kataoka, Freyja Dean, Richard Paul, Junko Otake and Niranjan Rajah, who reconsider what constitutes home either by drawing from their own experience of displacement, or making the home environment strange and extraordinary”. I am delighted to be a part of this show with John Tran, with whom I initially engaged in an exchange in the Japan Times. I wrote a ‘clarification‘ on his insightful article on the Singapore Biennale 2016. Thanks John for making this possible!
Image: Our Once Beautiful Features’ by John L. Tran
Cowboys and Indians: Tokyo Edition will be presented at Courtyard Hiroo Gallery, in a show titled ‘Home’ in the Expanded Field’ curated by and John Tran and Hana Sakuma. This exhibition explores ‘home’ as ‘a place that can be transitory, imaginary, and whose meaning is unstable or elusive’. I will present an installation/ performance around my on-going theme of the mango and the Indian myths that give meaning to this wondrous fruit. I will engage with Japanese myth and traditions via of the legend of Momotaro (the Peach Boy). During the performance, will present a Momotaro doll made by the Kyugetsu Company (esteemed doll makers dating back to 1835) in the 1920’s or 1930’s, and develop an association between Indian and Japanese symbolism centered on the substitution of the peach for the mango.