Ranga Shankara’s EQUAL: Women’s Voices for a Common Humanity
7, 8 and 9 Apr, ‘17
A biennial fest
Today, world over, public culture has become increasingly more intolerant, and therefore, women are more vulnerable now than ever before. While certain social spaces celebrate women as being on par with men, others treat them brutally and violently, pushing the lives of women into silence. This does not remain just the problem of women. Viewed through the lens of gender, we see that such violence has a crippling effect on women and an equally dehumanising impact on men.
In the performing arts, this hierarchy based on gender is not absent as women and men are fixed in stereotypes. Even performance texts are gendered. Invariably, these ideas percolate into the socio-cultural fabric of society thereby setting ‘definite’ expectations, constructing predetermined gender roles.
In various forums across the world, there is an attempt to see how we can imagine afresh a world where men and women can break out of the prison-house of rigid and sanctioned identities to become ‘new' men and women to reclaim our shared humanity. Ranga Shankara’s biennial fest EQUAL will be a part of this journey.
The first day is focused on the construct and power of gender stereotypes, especially in the context of the performing arts, which shape and are shaped by their socio-cultural milieu. EQUAL has identified two further domains that have prevented us from realising the dream of an equal world. One is the sphere of economics where women’s productive work is less valued than men’s. So our focus on Day 2 is Women at Work! The last day presents a rainbow range of expressions of alternative genders and sexualities.
EQUAL envisions a new world where we, with a sense of urgency, not only raise questions about this unequal world, interrogate and examine it, but also celebrate small victories, and hope to coin a new idiom of togetherness.
Vanamala Viswanatha, Arundhati Nag and Deepa Ganesh