Thursday, January 27, 2011

YaliniDream performs in Chennai!

The Shakti Resource Center for Gender and Sexuality and MP/

are delighted to invite you to  a workshop and performance by


 with Special Guest Accompaniment by L. Ramakrishnan on Veena

and Guest performances by Sharanya Manivannan & Shailja Patel

The performance will be followed by a discussion.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


SPACES, No. 1, Elliots Beach Road,

Besant Nagar, Chennai 600090

1:00 - 4:00pm- Workshop with Yalini Dream

7:00 - 8:00 pm- Performance and discussion

About YaliniDream:

Sri Lankan Blood, Manchester Born, Texas bred and Brooklyn steeped, YaliniDream is an artist, activist, and facilitator.   She conjures spirit through her unique blend of poetry, theater, song, and dance-- reshaping reality and seeking peace through justice in the lands of earth, psyche, soul, and dream. One of the South Asian American community’s most prominent performance poets, YaliniDream has toured nationally throughout the US as well as performing in Canada, England & Sri Lanka.  As a director & facilitator, YaliniDream works to bring under-represented voices to center stage through community based theater productions.  Through experimental collaboration she seeks to build artistic work that reflects the strength of communities while cherishing difference.   YaliniDream was the director and facilitator of Andolan’s Sukh aur Dukh ki Kahani--a storytelling project with Bangladeshi and Indian domestic workers in Queens, NY and facilitated theater workshops with OfERR for Sri Lankan Tamils living in refugee camps in India.  She has been a long term volunteer with the Audre Lorde Project's SOS(Safe Outside the System) Collective in Brooklyn working to address homophobic and transphobic violence against people of color.  YaliniDream is also a trained aerial dancer in corde lisse who loves to fly-- challenging notions of the seemingly impossible.


About the workshop: Art as a Tool for Community Organizing

On Saturday afternoon (29th January), from 1 to 4 pm, YaliniDream will facilitate a fun, interactive workshop for participants to explore the use of artistic methods as tools for community empowerment, activism, and social justice. Using writing, movement and voice exercises, participants will explore what stories they have to tell, explore how their bodies like to move, and reflect critically on how their personal experiences may be used to engage broader issues and realities.

About L. Ramakrishnan:

L. Ramakrishnan, known affectionately as Ramki to some, is an accomplished Veena player, in addition to being one of the founding members of MP/Orinam, and Country Director for Solidarity and Action Against the HIV Infection in India (SAATHII). Ramki’s interests include Nature Conservation, Human rights, Carnatic Music, Evolutionary Ecology, Behavior, Biostatistics, Gender Justice, Muthuswami Dikshitar, Poetry, Austin, Texas, and Pondicherry, not necessarily in order of significance.

About Sharanya Manivannan:

Sharanya Manivannan was born in India in 1985 and grew up in Sri Lanka and Malaysia. She is the author of a book of poems, Witchcraft (Bullfighter Books, 2008), which carries a foreword by Indran Amirthanayagam. The recipient of the Lavanya Sankaran Fellowship for 2008-2009 from the Sangam House International Writers’ Residency she is working on her first novel, Constellation of Scars, as well as a second collection of poems, Bulletproof Offering.  Iyari, a handmade chapbook of poems and illustrations, was published in 2006. Her column, “The Venus Flytrap”, appears fortnightly in Zeitgeist, the Saturday supplement of The New Indian Express.

Her solo show, Ochre As The Earth, held in June 2007, was a pioneering event in the Kuala Lumpur arts scene. As a spoken word artist, she has performed at dozens of venues in the last six years, from indie cafes to the Borobudur Temple in Indonesia.

She has  been a guest of the Utan Kayu International Literary Biennale 2007, Singapore Writers’ Festival 2007, Poetry With Prakriti 2007 , Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2008 and Wordstorm: The Festival of Australasian Writing 2010. She lives in India.

About Shailja Patel:

Shailja Patel was born and raised in Kenya, has lived in London and San Francisco, and now divides her time between Nairobi and Berkeley. Trained as a political economist, accountant and yoga teacher, she honed her poetic skills in performances that have received standing ovations on three continents. She has been described by the Gulf Times as "the poetic equivalent of Arundhati Roy" and by CNN as "the face of globalization as a people-centered phenomenon of migration and exchange". Patel has appeared on the BBC World Service, NPR and Al-Jazeera. Her work has been translated into twelve languages. She is a recipient of a Sundance Theatre Fellowship, an African Guest Writer Fellowship from the Nordic Africa Institute, the Fanny-Ann Eddy Poetry Award from IRN-Africa, the Voices of Our Nations Poetry Award, a Lambda Slam Championship, and the Outwrite Poetry Prize.

About The Shakti Resource Center for Gender and Sexuality

The Shakti Resource Center for Gender and Sexuality is a dynamic, volunteer-run collective that has been working out of Chennai since July 2007, and registered as a trust last year. Our vision is to create a world where individuals are free to question, and express their sexuality, to forge relationships based on reciprocity, equality and interdependence, and where rather than merely “adjusting” to an unjust world, are able to criticize the structures upon which their injustice and marginalization are premised. In achieving this vision, we believe not only in advocating for sexual rights as a small sexual minority population demanding recognition as “normal”. Rather, we wish to question the broader norms and structures that define what it means to be sexually normal, legal, decent and respectable in the first place. To this end, we advocate for policy change, create safe spaces for people to talk and think critically about gender and sexuality, and forge links with other social movements. As part of our broad queer vision, we work not only with gay men, lesbian and bisexual women, hijras, kothis, and trans individuals, but also with young women, survivors of sexual assault, teens desiring information about sexual health services, sex workers that suffer police violence, and a variety of other identities that may be shamed and criminalized based on inferences about their sexuality. Get in touch with us at

About MP/Orinam:
Initiated in October 2006, is a bilingual (Tamil and English) website with information on alternate sexualities and genders. We intend this space to speak to a wide range of people, including families and friends of those of us who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. We anticipate that this site would also be useful for Indian, especially Tamil language, media seeking accurate and current information on alternate sexualities and genders. Finally, this site is for us, LGBT individuals of all stripes and colours, including those who do not identify with any of these categories but nevertheless fall outside mainstream expectations and conventions with respect to gender and sexuality. Get in touch at or check out


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