The Secular Project

A VIDEO SERIES BY MANDEEP RAIKHY FOR FINDING SISTERHOOD


Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan




Studio Explorations Meeting Artists in Their Work Spaces




Travelling through Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh





Occupying Public Places in Mumbai




They were still breathing




Experiments with Self




Goa: Taking the Secular to the Sea




Our Bodies will Come Together




Bangalore: Bodies That Ask Questions




How Long Before We Run Out Of Breathe








The Secular Project is conceived of a series of performative interventions that take place across India over a period of 5 months, i.e. January- May 2021. In response to the thriving right-wing politics in India that aims to assert Hindutva as the Indian cultural, national, and religious identity (whereby a true 'Indian' is one who partakes of this 'Hindu-ness'), The Secular Project aims to build an embodied dialogue around the secular as a key value enshrined in the constitution of India, which prohibits religious discrimination against its citizens, and guarantees all persons equality before the law and equal protection of the law. This project aims to reiterate these secular principles through the moving body and its performative potential in public and private spaces. At the heart of this project is a white fabric with ‘Secular India’ painted on it. It was created as a banner for the widespread protests against the controversial Citizen Amendment Act across India at the beginning of 2020.

How do we build casual intimacy with a term such as the secular? What does it mean to inhabit the secular, to live and breathe with it, to wear, touch, caress and hold on to it? Can the secular become a living, breathing thing instead of a term that sits in an official document and has no relevance in our daily lives? If every belief comes into existence only when it is repeatedly performed as ritualistic practice, how then do we perform the secular as citizens of India?

Mandeep is a dance practitioner with a particular interest in exploring the intersections between dance creation, performance, research and pedagogy. He began studying jazz at age 19 at the Danceworx, New Delhi, and his subsequent interest in contemporary dance took him to London where he completed a BA (Hons) in Dance Theatre at Laban. He toured with Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, London between 2005 and 2009. Mandeep has created several dance works, notably Inhabited Geometry (2010), a male ant has straight antennae (2013), and Queen-size (2016). These works have travelled across the country and internationally over the years including Kampnagel, South Bank Centre and Singapore International Arts Festival. Since 2009, Mandeep is Managing Director at Gati Dance Forum, where he has worked to develop a supportive environment for contemporary dance in the country through projects as diverse as residencies, festivals, publications, and advocacy initiatives. He is currently teaching as an assistant professor at the MA Performance Practice (Dance) at Ambedkar University, Delhi. This practice-based Masters programme in dance is the first of its kind in South Asia.

The video series is made possible in collaboration with the International Dance Program at the Swedish Arts Grants Committee.


Welcome to
Korrespondens /
Finding sisterhood / Online Space


Finding Sisterhood* is a decolonising and queer mapping of contemporary dance and performance. This mapping departs from a need to mobilise a movement and name aesthetic movements that are vibrating and vital to contemporary dance and performance while at the same time being marginalised in its history and archives. Finding Sisterhood is one of many sisterly acts where space and platforms are shaped to present and create collective languages for artists who instead of discussing whiteness, cis and hetero norms are in conversation with their own communities.

*In this project, we use the term sisterhood to describe a non-hierarchical act of solidarity. All our siblings are welcome!

Artistic Leaders: Nasim Aghili and Rani Nair (in collaboration with Malin Holgersson)
Graphic design: Hanne Lindberg
Web design/developmen: Lilit Asiryan
Web design/developmen: Lilit Asiryan
Web design/ develpoment: Lilit Asiryan
Illustration: Shabnam Faraee
Producer: Johanna Gustafsson Korrespondens / Finding Sisterhood / Online Space is a collaboration between Finding Sisterhood and the duo aghili/karlsson        https://fulkonst.se/Finding-Sisterhood

Finding Sisterhood is a project by the Art Group Ful and Rani Nair production and is made in collaboration with MDT, Stockholm, and with support from The Swedish Arts Council, Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International dance program, Lund’s municipality, and Stenkrossen’s maxistöd.



Welcome to Korrespondens / Finding sisterhood / Online Space

Finding Sisterhood* is a decolonising and queer mapping of contemporary dance and performance. This mapping departs from a need to mobilise a movement and name aesthetic movements that are vibrating and vital to contemporary dance and performance while at the same time being marginalised in its history and archives. Finding Sisterhood is one of many sisterly acts where space and platforms are shaped to present and create collective languages for artists who instead of discussing whiteness, cis and hetero norms are in conversation with their own communities.

*In this project, we use the term sisterhood to describe a non-hierarchical act of solidarity. All our siblings are welcome!

Artistic Leaders: Nasim Aghili and Rani Nair (in collaboration with Malin Holgersson)
Graphic design: Hanne Lindberg
Web design/development: Lilit Asiryan
Illustration: Shabnam Faraee
Producer: Johanna Gustafsson
Korrespondens / Finding Sisterhood / Online Space is a collaboration between Finding Sisterhood and the duo aghili/karlsson       
https://fulkonst.se/Finding-Sisterhood

Finding Sisterhood is a project by the Art Group Ful and Rani Nair Productions and is made in collaboration with MDT, Stockholm, and with support from The Swedish Arts Council, Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International dance program, Lund’s municipality, and Stenkrossen’s maxistöd.