Creating creative bonds in a fractured society

Our lives might take unexpected twists at times, and it can be depressing to accept the things we cannot alter. A soul salve is to not let go of this suffering entirely, but to purge it via people’s mutual help.

Sutta Vadai, an evening of music, poetry, literature, and satire at the Senganthal Poonga, was a testimony to the proverb, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” It was about finding truth and optimism in this damaged world.

As a sister project of the youth-led Justice Rocks campaign, which was founded in 2006, the open-art event seeks to address social concerns via creative expression. Writer, activist, and Sutta Vadai organizer Archanaa Seker says, “We feel disillusioned when our loved ones seem apathetic to current events, and we aim to unite individuals who share similar sentiments.”

Usually, volunteer work, crowdsourcing, and crowdfunding are what drive the Justice Rock events. Therefore, rather of using private, fee-based venues, we decided to hold the evening in a park, using public space to bring people together from different backgrounds,” says Bhargav Prasad, writer-filmmaker and Sutta Vadai organizer.

With an engaging lineup of thought-provoking performances that included theater, music, poetry, and short stories, the event became a forum for introspection and communal bonding as well as a place for people to laugh and cry together.

S Venkataraghavan, an actor-writer, reimagines nature with a revitalized feeling of amazement in the space after mastering the literary style of magical naturalism. Using humor and charm, he narrates the Sambar Kaveri, a narrative that represents the gorgeous river as a South Indian staple. Sambar Kaveri takes a lighthearted yet humorous look at South Indian river management and water politics. In addition to exploring the river Kaveri as a site of protest, change, and crucial food staple, it personifies the river. Raghavan discusses how art shines an inclusive light to illuminate difficulties and encourage creative solutions.

In addition to celebrating the craftsmanship of puppets, thanks to Open House in Madippakam, the event demonstrated an unrelenting dedication to fostering tolerance and togetherness. The puppet show encouraged us to consider how deeply rooted beliefs impact our lives and are handed down through generations, all while presenting us with adorable characters like birds, lizards, and cockroaches. Isai Praakash, Open House’s puppetry artist, says, “We aim to bring something contemporary to the puppet shows on addressing social issues that require a modern dilute.”

The evening seemed like a place where people could freely express themselves via conversation and very soul-rejuvenating creative forms, rather than just a stage for reproductions. Dancer Ananya says, “It felt like a safe harbor for self-expression, voicing our authentic thoughts without judgment,” expressing a similar perspective. Instead of using instructional language, the performances transported us into fantastical realms that encouraged individual interpretation and meaning-making.

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