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Huli Vesha


Supraja R, 26

From Telangana/Karnataka/Andhra Pradesh

Recited in Kannada by Supraja’s friend,  Sannidhi Surop

"When you’d put the call out and had asked for tiger folklore that harkened towards oneself, what came to mind was this performance tradition called huli vesha. As far as I understand it, around the regions of northern Karnataka, Goa, Kerala and even Maharashtra (basically windwards to the Western Ghats), you encounter this impersonatory homage to Tigers - that prowl these Ghats. 

Much in the way that these hills entrap the monsoon showers ushering them into interior lands, these dancers crouch and leap like a tiger on the prowl. If you’ve ever seen a tiger on the prowl, you’ll know that there lies a sleek agility to this majestic cat’s movements. 

That is channelled and embodied by these performers, these dynamic movements navigating affect, social position, spectacle, and cultural labour. I find this impulse resonates with the manner with which you have designed this tiger."

Is there a reason you chose to get a tiger tattoo?

"I’m obsessed with cats, big or small. The form of your design also resonates with the rhythm embodied in the huli vesha. "A tiger is on the prowl", I'd say in your animation, further layers this tattoo experience for me as one that's straddling various mediums and very many retellings."

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