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Siddhartha Art Gallery and BP Koirala Foundation presented a performance artwork by Smitha Cariappa at Baber Mahal Revisited. H.E. Jayant Prasad, Indian Ambassador to Nepal graced the performance with his presence. Based on the story of Croog princess Gowramma, the performance installation followed the "exotic" child's move to England, how she was taken up by then Queen Victoria, to her untimely death at the young age of 23. Cariappa's performance was detailed, and employed props to explore themes of becoming and unbecoming. The artist channeled the princess's alter-ego, basing her rendition on posthumous discovery of notes and records from Benaras. With a static scene of a porcelain statue, evoking a colonist setting and a pink night-gown stretched to catch images of a carnivorous plant slowly devouring its prey, the mood was kept serious and meditative. Cariappa paced her installation with literal narration, on two columns of paper giving the long performance a consistent rhythm. In all, her ritualistic approach kept the tragedy of coerced identity (Gowramma was seen as conduit to convert other upper cast Indians into Christians) alive and memorable.
11 April 2012 Baber Mahal Revisited
Tulsi Diwas

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