NIAS Wednesday Discussion: "Yellammanaata an overnight performance and Contemporary Play" by Sumitra Sunder, Lecture Hall, NIAS, 0930 hrs

NIAS Wednesday Discussion


Yellammanaata an overnight performance and Contemporary Play



Sumitra Sunder

Ph.D. Scholar, School of Humanities, NIAS 


Chairperson: Smriti Haricharan, Assistant Professor, Heritage Science and Society Programme, NIAS,


29nd November, 2017, 9.30 am, Lecture Hall, NIAS


Abstract:  Abstract of the talk: The yelammanaata mela is a ritualistic overnight play hosted mostly during the Dussera season by lower caste Hindus around parts of Hyderabad, Karnataka and the Southern Maharashtra. It is the story of how a woman becomes a goddess of a community. This ritual is significant as it does question notions of gender. How does a woman have a child out of wedlock? How does a community of transgender persons become the devotees of this powerful mother goddess? Is there a connection between choosing to 'devote' oneself to a deity in order to practice one's trade? This ritual performance has also been adapted into a short play by the urban Folk project, a collective in Bangalore. This presentation will look at the original play and its urban version to see how stories get translated for an urban audience.


About the Speaker: Sumitra Sunder is an independent researcher and curator working on a doctorate in contemporary art practice from Manipal University, in Karnataka, India. Her PhD project locates the past 40 years of curating and resistance in art practice in South India, focusing on collectives in Bangalore, Karnataka and the Students’ Biennale at Kochi, Kerala. Sumitra also co-curated the Neralu festival in Bangalore in 2014, dedicated to the trees of Bangalore and a reflection on the ecology of the city. Beyond curating shows, she has been co-developing plays for local theatre collectives. Sumitra also works as a consultant for art and culture organizations.


All are cordially invited

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For further info, please contact Sangeetha Menon [ or] Coordinator of NIAS Wednesday Discussion Meetings.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017