When I try to remember the first time I met Nayantara after I arrived in Akadmie Schloss Solitude, I can only remember that night: after we were back from the Euro games finals that we’d watched in one of the nearby beer gardens, I invited a few fellows to my studio for a bottle of single malt whiskey I brought with me.
Nayantara came with Kunal and others, and she was sitting on the Sofa. This night turned into a whiskey dance party, with Arabic and Indian and lots of other music.
Nayantara is a performance artist and theater director; she is also co-founder of Crow. The interview we had was in the last days of her residency. »It’s all reminding me of my boarding school, which I went to when I was 16 years old…it was a very educational school, where everyone made art and it was established by Jiddu Krishnamurti, an Indian Philosopher. It was wonderful growing up there… and what was really great about it was its sense of community that you have and you take away with you, because those people became like a family. And that looks like this place, like Solitude, where people are living together days and nights, if we like it or not,« Nayantara says.
And she continued: »Sometimes you escape and return to your room and work, but whenever you go out, you will listen to music playing from someone’s room, or someone is sitting around… and it’s like an open invitation to join him or her, and I find it very lovely. It’s really interesting that sometimes you live in a big city and you know a lot more people, but in the city there is a sense of loneliness that you feel which is completely limited inside Solitude.«
Rasha: Do you feel that this experience, of being a fellow in Solitude, is kind of transformative one? Do you feel you are a different person after it?
Nayantara: I think so, I think it was a healing process some way.
Rasha: How has the experience affected your work?
Nayantara: Well, we live really different lives in India. I mean India is chaotic, our work is chaotic, everything is in a rush, and it’s nice to go deep inside and find out what you are really doing and what for. I think we ask ourselves big questions, such as: why we are doing this work? What is important to us? It was nice to have this space to think about it.
Rasha: What will you take with you from here?
Nayantara: Also I am looking forward to going back home. I am taking a lot of energy to jump for some new productions that we were working on the whole time. I am very refreshed.