Nithya Iyer is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher of South Indian Tamil-descent. Nithya’s work is informed by research techniques developed while completing a Masters in Therapeutic Arts Practice and 15 years of training in Bharatanatyam – an Indian classical dance form. Incorporating performance, installation, and video art to create multi-layered and metaphoric meanings, her artistic practice explores critical theories regarding migration, nationalism, and decolonisation.
With the support of a Cultural Trust grant, Nithya undertook a residency and interdisciplinary research project at the Hangar Centre for Artistic Investigation, Lisbon, Portugal. The project, ‘An Indefinite Series of Discontinuous Acts’, explores how arts-based research methods can deepen inquiry into critical theory, and facilitate creating and disseminating inclusive and multi-sensorial forms of
“The Hangar residency exceeded my expectations in terms of the level of networking, contacts and exposure that it provided. Through the residency, I have become acquainted with several interdisciplinary organisations and institutions both in Lisbon and around Europe and was invited to do a performance and a workshop which expanded my circle of peers greatly. On a day-to-day basis, the COVID-19 restrictions meant that my time doing solo research in the Hangar studios was a little lonesome and would have been much more difficult without the support of my mentor/curator Cristiana Tejo.”
While some of the performative outcomes originally intended for the residency were unable to occur due to COVID-19 restrictions, Nithya translated her choreographic ideas into videos, essays and projections for the exhibition.
The residency and mentorship of curator Cristiana Tejo created an environment in which Nithya could gain a greater understanding of the professional standards, technical, theoretical and choreographic rigors of presenting interdisciplinary work. Further, she was able to develop her project while connecting and collaborating with artists and researchers whose practices engage in similar themes and methodologies, gaining clarity on where her practice sits within the international landscape.