Grant Period: One year and six months
Santhosh DD is a theatre practitioner trained at Ninasam hailing from Dindaguru village, Channarayapatna taluk in Hassan district. He has been conducting several theatre workshops for children and community members during summer breaks. After completing the theatre course at Ninasam, Santhosh found it difficult to apply those techniques with children and local community groups in his village. Therefore he planned to draw upon Somana Kunitha, a local folk art form prevalent in his region, to enable students to develop their skills. Santhosh himself is a practitioner of Somana Kunitha as well.
In this project, Santhosh will work with 30 students from the fourth to the seventh grade of the Government Higher Primary School, Dindaguru, Channarayapatna taluk, Hassan district. He wishes to explore a text from the school syllabus by interpreting it through local art forms, particularly Somana Kunitha which is rapidly disappearing from the cultural life of the region. Somana Kunitha is a ritualistic dance performed by two or three artists with elaborate masks. Soma refers to the unsatisfied devotees who after their death have become the guardians of the village deity. Somana Kunitha is performed by wearing these masks that are mainly of three colors- red, yellow and blue. The performers dance in a rhythmic manner to the tune set by the musical instruments. Santhosh will explore multiple possibilities of creating performance pieces with the students.
What is interesting about this project is Santhosh’s approach towards this exercise. Keeping the religious beliefs aside, he is concentrating only on the pure folk artistic essence of this art form that will enable students to explore their texts. In this context, he has planned a set of activities such as collecting stories by elders in the village about Somana Kunitha and preparing a theatre script, mask-making, and learning the dance form. He will invite local resource persons to engage students in workshops and discussions with the students.
The outcome of this grant will be a performance in the presence of school staff and community members. The deliverables of the grant would include photographs and video documentation.
This grant is made possible with support from Citi India.