Seethappa Vijaya Kumar   – HSLU D&K

Is this me
Fotos Dominik Suppiger

An odd shaped large meta 1 tub full of water is spotlighted in the middle of the Chapel. Seethappa casually and quietly comes to the side and starts to undress until left in his underwear. He picks up a small pail of mud which he slowly and carefully smears all over his body. His head, face and eyes are also covered giving a leery, scary look as he also tries to look thru the mud in his eyes. What seemed like a friendly artist has now changed into something scary. He walks around to confront us (the audience) and we are not sure anymore what is going to happen. He proceeds to sit in front of the tub facing the public and the drama is enhanced by the strong shadow of a human like creature projected on the back wall. He dips his arms in the water slowly moving it in a ritualistic gentle stroke. The mud comes of slowly off from the arms mixing and discoloring the water. He suddenly starts to smile and show an emotion of pleasure and the audience reacts with him. The playfulness continues when he starts to splash the water out of the tub. Having changed the emotional character of the audience he stops, gets up and starts to get serious again as he walks around a few times staring at the audience with the menacing mud covered body. Of course now we are not comfortable anymore and he goes back to the tub gets completely into the tub and sinks his whole body into the tub including his head. We hold our breath for literally ten long seconds and wonder what is going on? He suddenly pops out wi th bright smile and says: "That' s i t!", to the relief of the crowd ...

Seethappa plays and relaxes but to us this is strange and comes across as scary. The healthy natural contact with mud, and covering up of the whole naked body are all natural traditions that we in our culture don't generally appreciate or understand.

Carlos Varela