- May 5, 2018
- 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
CIIS Main Building
Desai | Matta Gallery
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Free and Open to the Public
ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE: In Search of Eternal Love: My Journey from Meera Bhai to Rumi
Saturday, MAY 5, 6:30PM in the Desai | Matta Gallery at CIIS
Bay Area artists Salma Arastu and Naina Shastri explore the intersections between the mystical poetry of Mevlana Rumi and Meera Bhai, born hundreds of years apart into distinct spiritual traditions. For this performance the artists work across disciplines, combining poetry recitation, image and video projection, visual art, and interpretative performance of the South Indian classical dance form, Bharatanatyam. Finding continuity through time and between Islam and Hinduism, the artists explore-as did Rumi and Meera Bhai-the redemptive power of love.
In creating this work, Shastri–who comes from a traditional background in the classical dance form, Bharatanatyam, with strict guidelines on how a repertoire should be presented–is shifting the terrain of her practice. Traditional Bharatanatyam dance does not integrate the esoteric knowledge of Sufism, unlike Kathak, a classical dance form from Northern India which has had a very strong Muslim influence.
This collaborative and interdisciplinary project also represents a departure for Salma Arastu, who typically works in two-dimensional media. The values of the work, however, are aligned for both artists, engaging the intersections and continuous threads between cultural and spiritual traditions. Arastu's love for Meera Bhai led her to the poetry of Mevlana Rumi, manifest in a series of paintings and a small book drawn from selected verses by the Islamic mystic.
Credits and collaborations for Eternal Love
Music composition for Meera Bajans: Snigdha Venkataramani
Arrangement: TN Arunagiri
Orchestration: Kalyan G
Percussion: Kaushik Balamukundhan
Persian Music: Amir A Etemadzadeh
Photo: Swagato Basumallick
Desai | Matta Gallery, First Floor