Rhythms of Resistance


June 23, 2024


315 Columbia Street Brooklyn, NY 11231

Event Details

Along with partners Dalit Solidarity Forum USAHindus for Human Rights, and the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America, and with the support of the National Endowment for the ArtsAFI is proud to co-host this unique Indian drumming and dance event in Brooklyn. This performance brings together master parai (South Indian frame drum) artist, Aasan Manimaran with Bharatanatyam dancer Dr. Prathiba Batley accompanied by drummers from the diasporic Tamil community.  

For the first time, AFI as an organization is addressing the millennia-old dynamics of casteism that impact access to and the hierarchical valuation of art across South Asia. Where Bharatanatyam – as with many other classical South Asian art forms – is dominated by the privileged caste and considered pure, the parai has been associated with pollution and delegated as an outcaste duty. Since the 1990s, however, the drum and drummers have become the emblem of the Dalit Liberation Movement in Tamil Nadu. The pairing of parai and Bharatanatyam (Parai-Natyam) by these artists is an intentional exploration of dialogue and unity.
The underlying message of this performance is one of human and artistic equity through the lens of anti-caste activism as it is understood in both South India and the United States. After the performance, we will have a community conversation about the relationship between casteism and racism in America. The event will close with a participatory workshop led by Manimaran.

Join us for AFI’s first Brooklyn-based event of 2024, and participate in a conversation about historical discrimination, creative sustainability of hereditary arts and artists, and pathways to equity and liberation

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