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Bangalore Mirror

Strings of the Past

An attempt to save a musical instrument that is becoming redundant, thanks to cultural misbeliefs

Come 7.30am and Shilpa Mudbi Kothakota can be found singing at the top of her lungs at Cubbon Park. This isn’t her riyaaz though. But it is however her attempt to save a folk music instrument from disappearing completely – by playing it in public as she sings, by letting park visitors play it and by urging the urban crowd to buy it, and integrate it into mainstream music. Continue reading

Mindful of Gender

Shilpa Mudbi Kothakota (Yellammanaata Mela)

Two months of research has led Shilpa to stage the Yellamanaata which is a ritualistic overnight play held at festivals by lower caste Hindus in parts of Andhra, Karnataka and Southern Maharashtra. Performed mainly by Jogathis or the transgender disciples of Yellamma, this particular play will be of just 15 minutes duration as a “teaser that covers a crucial part of the story leading to Renuka becoming Yellamma.” In the play, the male role will be performed by the female and vice versa. As Shilpa researched the mythology behind the goddess Yellamma, she took into one account of the origin story from Saundatti, one of the oldest towns in Belgaum district of Karnataka.”  Read full article

Kerosene Digital

Urban Folk Project Revives Age-old Karnataka Traditions In A Modern Time

“Why are our kids taught to sing ‘Rain, rain, go away’ when India is a rain-dependent agricultural country and most of our folk songs are actually prayers for good rains?”, asks Shilpa Mudbi Kothakota. It’s this insight into the role of folk traditions as both cultural heritage and living culture, that led her to launch the Urban Folk Project, an intriguing initiative to archive folk art forms in Karnataka. Continue reading

Times of India

Challenging gender norms with bold art

“Shilpa Mudbi Kothakota has collaborated with a group of dancers and performers to recreate Yellammanaata – a ritualistic overnight play held during festivals in Karnataka, Hyderabad and southern Maharashtra.” Read full article

Deccan Herald

An engaging evening

Sandbox Collective will present the third edition of ‘Gender Bender’ on September 9 and 10 at Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan.

It is a joint project between Sandbox Collective and the Goethe – Institut and is co curated along with ‘The Ladies Finger’. The project invites artists and individuals working in the field of arts to send entries for projects that take a fresh, innovative and new look at notions of gender or approach questions or issues of gender with ingenuity and imagination. Read full article

The Hindu

Gender, re-imagined

Shilpa Kothakota

In an attempt to portray ‘Yellamma’ and ‘Dasappa’, Siddhanth and I embarked on yet another journey. Playing these roles meant, to untangle the notions of gender and sexuality starting with our own. The characters and the process changed us irrevocably, making it an important milestone in our lives. Performing Land of Ashes deepened my interest in understanding this form and this powerful deity of various marginal societies – Dalits, Jogthis, Devdasis and Transgender people. We are showcasing 15 minutes of the entire 2-hour play. It is more like a teaser that covers a crucial part of the story that leads to Renuka becoming Yellamma.” Read full article

Indian Express

The third edition of Gender Bender focuses on visual arts

GENDER Bender, for the past three years, through its projects and installations, has been creating dialogue and discourse about gender and sexuality. A collaboration between Sandbox Collective and the Goethe-Institut, the festival is also co-curated by the online publication, The Ladies Finger. This year, 10 grantees will showcase their works on topics ranging from the LGBTQ community in the Middle East to a multi-player game about caste and gender. Read full article

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