»UMAD – Decolonizing Rituals«

Short Film

Amidst a time of a pandemic and the upsurge of social justice movements, people continue to fight for decolonization worldwide. People experience moments of fear, anger, and loneliness, but we also create space for healing, resilience and empowerment. We connect with our ancestors through ancient wisdom and we redefine who we are and who we can be in this world today.

Masala Movement and theater De Vaillant made it possible to create the first images for this short film in progress. With a Crowdfunding we invite you to support the creation for the feature short film, Umad. Four artists of Surinamese Hindustani descent will be featured in this film: dancer and performance artist Fazle Shairmahomed, theatermaker/performer and filmmaker Taskien Khudabux, henna artist and dancer Anima Jhagroe-Ruissen and poet and rapper Rubaina Bhikhie. In these first images we see Fazle Shairmahomed dancing towards a state of trance inspired by Sufi dance rituals of Gnawa and Zar, and Afro-Surinamese Winti culture.

In Umad (in Hindi उमड़: emotional overflow), we will witness how these four artists of Surinamese-Hindustani descent find themselves in solitude at the beach of the Hague, in the Netherlands. All of them have been touched by the Dutch colonial project, but are shaped differently through their respective experiences and realities in life, which also brings in the Caribbean, Surinam, mixed identities of Hindu and Muslim, mixed race of Dutch and Hindustani, multicultural and queer realities.

At the sea they find space to reflect, and enact rituals for their spiritual journey of decolonization. They negotiate with histories of forced labor migration and colonialism, the erasure of cultures they belong to, cultures they have come to belong to, and the oppressive systems which continue to exist today. The research for this work has also been supported by decolonial scholar Zuleika Sheik.

With your support research and production for the full feature film will be able to continue including the other three artist and a sound artist to create the full sound for this short film. Eventually the film will be premiered in September 2020.

The Artists

Fazle Shairmahomed is a performance artist and dancer, who mainly creates decolonizing rituals, in which he transforms the relationship with the spectator, and challenges understandings of inter-sensoriality. Often he refers to problematics concerned with the politicization of his body as a Dutch Surinamese-Hindustani Muslim queer man. This experienced reality creates an urgency that shapes his artistic choices leading to themes such as death, rebirth, ancestry, belonging, colonial histories, and healing.

Tanja Busking is filmmaker with a sharp focus and sense for tension building throughout film. The subjects within her work are mostly in the field or arts and science, dance/movement, tech/new media. As for this short film, she seeks for the challenge to bring light on the stories of the four participating artists in an impactful way. This project also engages her to become aware of the privilege that she has because of her position as an uncolored person in a Western society and allows the other voices in this project to inspire her to something that eventually grows into something bigger than ourselves.

Rubaina Bhikhie is a poet and rapper, born in a Leap Year. While questioning the (roots of) dominant norms in our current civilization, in her poems she describes reality as she perceives it. Her philosophy and belief systems are central in her Life, performances and lyrics. She has a spiritual perspective on what society calls Life, and this is causing her to question these dominant norms. Although to her Love percolates in everything she does and Power of Spirit is her main believe, in this short film she will also share the pain that comes with the questioning.

Anima Jhagroe-Ruissen conducts artistic research about transnational identities. The hybridity of these identities are an important principle in Anima’s art. Within her art she explores the interactions between henna-art and dance. In one of her projects the ‘ghungeroo’ represents the connection between both art disciplines. In addition, Anima teaches about social change from a system perspective at the Hogeschool Rotterdam. With her art, research and classes she tries to emancipate non-western art forms in The Netherlands. While making this short film Anima will dive into her emotions and experiences during the Corona-crisis. A time where contrasts sharpen, existing relations strengthen, but there is no time to process trauma’s. While developing her new body language and experimental henna art, Anima tries to address societal issues.

Taskien Khudabux is theatermaker/performer and filmmaker. In her artistic work she attempts to embrace and show ‘being human’ in all extreme aspects, explored without shame or judgement. She believes when you’re able to embrace darkness you finally become enlightened. In this short film she will focus on her own imperfection related to her roots and true female identity. Her performance are storytelling pictures of the underlying pain.