A sari-shop turned inside out onto the streets in an explosion of colour and bonhomie. The centrepiece of this spectacular parade is a 10ft Sari fabric maypole, surrounded by a coterie of classical parasol dancers, tailors on bikes scuttling in between the audience and mischievous stilt walking characters adding to the anarchy and confusion.
Originally commissioned by ArtsAgenda for the opening night of Derby Feste in September 2010 the parade unveils a hidden history of the iconic Indian Sari Shop Mannequin of the 1960s and 70s.
Over the past ten years, Nutkhut’s co-Artistic Director Simmy Gupta has scoured many basements of long established sari-shops (from Birmingham’s Soho Road or London’s Green Street) and built up a collection of unique Indian-made mannequins. With their bouffant hair and voluptous breasts, they embody the universal metaphor of our cultural obsession with the female form; its idealisation and its decay. Simmy refuses to allow these mannequins gather dust in basements and back rooms around Britain’s Asian epicentres before they tell their stories of fashion, femininity and identity.
Nutkhut has presented a series of unique performance pieces incorporating parades, dance and installations with the Mannequins (including their spinning mannequin Miss Benn). The Mannequins series can be designed and adapted to fit different locations and budgets. Specific animatronics, film projections, performances and digital soundscapes can be commissioned and designed to fit different event’s requirements alongside the series.
Sari Sari Nights is one module of Nutkhut’s Mannequins Series.