Masks and Myths: Devils and Dancers from Sri Lanka
In 1893, Chicago hosted the World's Columbian Exposition, marking a pivotal moment in American and Western history. Numerous pavilions built to represent various African and Asian nations included Ceylon, as Sri Lanka was then known. Exposition organizers often chose to present the arts and culture of these colonial conquests as a spectacle with no artistic context or input.
Now, 125 years later, Sri Lankan dancers and musicians, along with guest artists, present an honest and authentic rendition of their artistry and other cultures presented at the Columbian Exposition including Balinese Gamelan, Japanese classical dance, and African drumming. Masks and Myths takes cultural exchange full-circle, reviewing colonialisms effects on artistry and new choreography bridging traditional Sri Lankan dance and contemporary influences.
This production will be the culmination of a year-long exchange between Mandala and Sri Lankan artists. Stay tuned for accessible performances and workshops throughout the year, across Chicago.
Featuring: Sudesh Mantillake, Ashwaty Chennat and Ashley Fargnoli
Directed by: Pranita (Jain) Nayar
Production by: Connor Torres
Light Design: Geoffrey Bushor
This program and Cultural Exchange is funded by the MacArthur Foundation International Connections Fund.