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Kathakali performer

Tamara Travers

Joined January 2009

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Artist's Description

TOP 10 in Wearing a Mask in First Things.
TOP 10 in the Five More Themes challenge in 4 Winners only.
FEATURED in All the Colours of the Rainbow.
TOP 10 in the Painted Faces challenge in All the Colours of the Rainbow.
TOP 10 in Made Up in Mood & Ambience.
FEATURED in Alphabet Soup.

Kathakali is the classical dance-drama of Kerala, South India, which dates from the 17th century and is rooted in Hindu mythology. A traditional performance takes place in a temple, it begins in the evening and continues throughout the night, culminating at the auspicious hour of dawn, when Good finally conquers Evil. In Kathakali, the story is enacted purely by the movements of the hands and by facial expressions and bodily movements. A Kathakali actor uses immense concentration, skill and physical stamina, gained from training based on Kalaripayattu, the ancient martial art of Kerala, to prepare for his demanding role.Training can often last for 8-10 years. Dancers also undergo special practice sessions to learn control of their eye movements. They have daily sessions of eye exercises and gymnastics from 3 a.m. to 7.30 a.m. which end up with an oil massage. This is a special feature of the training in which the teacher, holding to a bar, massages the student with his feet and toes, working oil into every joint and muscle. The process is painful, but it does create the required fitness and flexibility of body. One of the most interesting aspects of Kathakali is its elaborate make-up code. The make up is made from various mineral ores and pigments. They are ground on a stone and mixed with coconut oil before being applied on the face. Some characters also have their features enhanced, such as an enlarged nose or an elaborate mustache. Dancers also often place a chundanga seed under their lower eyelid before the performance to turn the white of their eyes red. This redness, which is not painful and lasts for about five hours, greatly enhances the expressions of the eyes which play such an important part in Kathakali acting.

Artwork Comments

  • Anni Morris
  • Tamara Travers
  • Ellen  Price - Greenwald
  • Tamara Travers
  • Ellen  Price - Greenwald
  • Tamara Travers
  • tandoor
  • Tamara Travers
  • oddoutlet
  • dunawori
  • CriscoPhotos
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