Matt Magill explores the fascinating new exhibition at the Ikon Gallery, which pushes artistic boundaries and challenges our understanding of artWritten by Matthew Magill on 21st February 2017
Kathakbox at mac
Sonia Sabri’s Kathakbox transported the audience into a creative cube of racial awareness inspired by the everyday task of which box to tick on a form when asked one’s ethnicity
Sonia Sabri's Kathakbox transported the audience into a creative cube of racial awareness inspired by the everyday task of which box to tick on a form when asked one's ethnicity.
The performance was staged in a dream-like state with midnight blue lighting and the set giving the illusion of actually being within a box. The audience were taken on a journey based on conflict and the gradual amalgamation and the uniting of different cultures and religious backgrounds. And so making the point that the box ticked on a form is totally irrelevant to the identity of a person.
The evening included a mix of beat boxing, hip-hop and break dancing, contemporary, kathak (a traditional Indian dance style), poetry, rap and singing.
Rhythm was the essence of the evening and integrated all these styles to form 'a dialogue of artistic disciplines'. The performers used motif and development to create this ongoing theme of being trapped in a box and breaking away from that.
The visually beautiful Suzanne Grubham's contemporary solo reflected not only professional training but a passion for dance that emanated through the audience making us believe every gesture, turn and fall.
This contrasted with the dance-off between Sabri, using the percussive dance known as kathak, and Nathan Geering, utilising body popping and break dance, expressing their different struggles with being identified purely by their ethnicities.
However, the mesmerising acapella duet with professional beat boxer, Shan Bansil, and spoken word artist and vocalist, Marcina Arnold stole the show.
The rhythmical complexities combined with Arnold's traditional Indian singing would put many modern hip-hop artists to shame. Kathakbox used the idea of needing a racially aware society and made it its own. Sabri asked us to define our own identities regardless of race in what can solely be described as creative genius.
Written by Emily Priestnall