Arts & Entertainment

Urban Kali

Photo: Karl Ford

It’s not every day the chance comes up to see a live performance depicting a terrifying Indian Goddess. This week, you can.

Rakini Devi returns to the Riverside Theatre with her fourth multi-disciplinary live art performance based around the Hindu Goddess Kali.

Devi describes the show as “tradition as transgression” – meaning she’s using traditional Indian dance as a tool to speak out against contemporary women’s rights issues, such as misogyny and female shame.

“The world is a terrifying place for women. Terrible acts are on the rise in India and other countries. This is about human rights,” she tells City Hub.

The Goddess Kali, who happens to be from Devi’s hometown of Bengal, was the perfect medium to address these themes, since she represents change, among other things. Kali is also likely to be familiar to many westerners.

“Unfortunately the Goddess Kali has been the victim of a lot of cultural appropriation. Burlesque, cabaret, Halloween, kids products…it’s endless,” says Devi, who also says her performance is reclaiming the sacred Goddess’ iconography.

“This is my own offering to honour her position in spite of the fact that it is a contemporary work, and I’m drawing on classical and sacred themes.”

However, Devi says she isn’t asking the audience to do anything but sit back and have their own interpretation of the show. It’s a mix of dance, visual art, video and sound installation, so there’s  plenty of eye candy, regardless of what meanings lie behind it.

Sep 22-23. Riverside Theatres – Lennox Theatre, Corner market and Church Street, Parramatta. $25-$35+b.f. Tickets & Info: or Ph: 02 8839 3399

By Alex Eugene.

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