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Sivamohan Sumathy & YaliniDream, in co-sponsorship with the Center for World Performance Studies
Sivamohan Sumathy holds a doctorate from the Washington State University. A senior lecturer in English at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, she has published and presented on postcolonial literature and theory, women’s movements in Sri Lanka, and performing arts (theatre and film). She is the author of Thin Veils: In the Shadow of the Gun & Wicked Witch Performing Act/ivism (2003), Militants, Militarism and the Crisis of (Tamil) Nationalism (2003), like myth and mother: a political autobiography in poetry and prose (2008). She has also translated others’ work from Tamil to English. Sumathy has written and directed numerous plays, and in addition to performing throughout Sri Lanka, she has performed widely in international locations including New York, London, Philadelphia, and Melbourne. She works with local Sri Lankan groups in training non- actors, mostly women and working people. She has written numerous scripts for activist projects, and has co-scripted a path-breaking documentary feature on the ethnic conflict, In Search of a Road, which premiered at the Singapore International Film Festival. Her first short film Piralayam (Upheaval) was preselected at the Annual Film Without Frontiers of Barcelona in 2005, and she was awarded the Gratiaen Prize for English Literature for Thin Veils in 2001. A member of the Drama Panel of the Arts Council of Sri Lanka, she also belongs to its Performing Arts Society. Her first feature film, Here and Now (in progress) has received an honorable mention grant from the U.S.-based Global Film Initiative. Most recently, Sumathy Sivamohan won the prestigious Premchand Fellowship 2011 from the National Academy of Letters in India.
YaliniDream 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 diaspora’s most prominent performance poets, YaliniDream has toured nationally at hundreds of spaces throughout the U.S. as well as Europe & South Asia. Her work has been performed at theater venues such as NYC's Lincoln Center and New York Live Arts (formerly Dance Theater Workshop), Manchester’s Contact Theater, Houston’s Diverse Works, Chicago’s Vittum Theater, Austin’s Hyde Park Theater; poetry venues such as NYC’s Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe, Minneapolis’s The Loft, London’s Royal Vauxhall Tavern, and universities such as Yale (USA), University of Manchester (UK), Loyola College (India), and University of Peradeniya Sri Lanka) . Her work has been featured in print in the The Indian Express, online in the Huffington Post, and on air on the Brian Lehrer Show. YaliniDream was a 2006 Mid-Atlantic Artists in Community Fellow at the Asian Arts Initiative, a panelist for the Leeway Foundation's 2007 Transformation Awards, a 2008 Urban Arts Initiative Fellow & a 2010 recipient of the Jerome Foundation's Travel & Study Award in Literature. As a movement artist, YaliniDream applies a hybrid aesthetic drawing upon vocabulary from ballet, modern, jazz; South Asian folk, classical and contemporary traditions; as well as U.S. urban forms such as hip hop & house. She has facilitated workshops for war-affected communities in Sri Lankan refugee camps in Tamil Nadu, India as well as war-affected communities in Mannar, Vavuniya & Batticaloa, Sri Lanka. In addition, she has worked with survivors of violence from multiple communities including Cambodian-American & communities of African descent in the U.S. She holds a BA in Plan II Honors and another in Theater with a concentration in Acting & Directing from the University of Texas, Austin. YaliniDream is also a trained aerial dancer in corde lisse who loves to fly—challenging notions of the seemingly impossible.
This residency is also sponsored by the Institute for the Humanities, the Center for South Asian Studies, the Department of English Language & Literature, and the Lloyd Hall Scholars Program.
Location: UMMA Helmut Stern Auditorium