To the common woman or man, performance art seems very artsy, almost inaccessible. I used to feel the same way until I came across the work of performance artist Marina Abramović. Thanks to Marina, I learned that performance art is actually a form of art that can and should be consumed by everybody. Therefore, I am glad that I got the opportunity to interview the very talented and versatile artist who goes by the name of Patruni Chidananda Sastry. Over to him.
Who or what inspired you to become a performance artist?
My early inclination towards performance art started when I attended a workshop by Adam Koan on Butoh, an art form from Japan which is the core for theater, dance, and performance art. I then traveled with Adam to Chennai, where I saw a live performance by Victoria Nivedita, a Chennai-based artist. Before these performances, I was just an ordinary boy who performed classical dance. After these performances, I understood what an artist can do with the Bramhastra of performance art. Since then, I have been guided by both Victoria and Adam in exploring performance art and finding its Indian roots.
Tell us about your brainchild, Sas3’s Dancing feet.
Sas3’s dancing feet is a concept and curation company which curates events for dance, theater, and performance art. One of our previous events was B3, an infotainment event of Belly, Butoh and Bachata dance forms. Then, we presented Swatantra, an extravaganza of Indian classical dances like Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, and Odissi. We have also hosted dance and performance art workshops and recently concluded a marathon for World Dance Day. The idea behind Sas3’s dancing feet was only to bring in artists together for sharing knowledge and art. Today, it has become so much more. I now have plans to start Hyderabad’s first Performance Art Festival as well.
If there is one thing you could change about the way people perceive performance art, what would it be and why?
Firstly, most people think that performance art is another name for the performing arts. There is a huge difference between the two! Then, some get confused that performance art is drama or theater and some assume that it’s a drama where the performer paints too.
Performance art is neither of these things.
It’s an inter-disciplinary form of art where the performer’s actions, body and everything including the audience is a piece of art. With so many misconceptions, it is important to build a community of performance artists and do a lot of performances to create awareness.
Also, performance art can and should be used as a weapon against current socio-political issues. This will also help people relate this art form with real life.
I believe that performance art, like all other forms of art, enriches the soul. How can people like you and I convince Indians to be more receptive to it?
Indian culture has a lot of art forms which fall under performance art. However, we have only restricted them to ritual arts and rural arts. It is the need of the hour to bring performance art to non-religious places. My research on ritual artforms is an attempt to do just that.
Also, when a performance artist performs, people should stand still and watch till the end instead of making assumptions. Awareness is the only thing that will help us become more receptive to it. Conducting performance art workshops and sessions at schools or at the workplace will help us create more awareness.
Patruni Chidananda Sastry is a versatile performance artist based in Hyderabad, India. You can reach him at https://www.sas3dancingfeet.com/.