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Siddi, Girija

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Girija Siddi, a theatre school graduate, who performs in Nimilita.

Interview with Siddis from Karnataka India, 2016
This interview was conducted as part of the “Telling Our Stories of Home Festival” made possible by Kathy Perkins and Tanya Shields at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It is about the African Diaspora in India, particularly Siddi life and culture in Karnataka, and descriptions of the arts and social conditions in the Siddi community. Also included are the personal experiences of Girija Siddi and Geeta Siddi, such as how they were able to continue their education and and how they got into Theatre. They are the first Siddi women to graduate in Theatre, which has motivated other Siddi youngsters to consider Theatre as a profession and to continue their advanced studies. In the interview they also noted that they are now living in a city, no longer within their own community. They are looked upon as strangers in Bengaluru because most of the people in the community are not aware of the Siddi people, who have been living in the same country for more than 600 years. Girija now is practicing Hindustani classical vocal music, and she is the first Siddi woman to study classical Indian music. Geeta Siddi, after her master’s in performing arts, is doing her PhD on women artists in Kannada Theatre. She has been honored by a fellowship from HRD, Government of India for her research on the Arts of the Siddi Community in Karnataka. Girija and Geeta are also the first women to travel outside of India. They were invited as international artists to participate in the “Telling Our Stories of Home Festival.” Channakeshava G is founder trustee of the Siddi Trust and the Lokacharita Trust organizations. He is a visiting teacher at NINASAM Theatre School and other institutions. He has worked with the Siddi community of Karnataka for the last 15 years and has written and directed more than 50 plays in 5 of the languages of South India.
Nimilitha: The Story of a Siddi Girl Who Closed Her Eyes
Siddi theatre performers and sisters, Geeta and Girija Siddi, performing in a two-week festival, Telling Our Stories of Home: Exploring and Celebrating Changing African & African Diaspora Communities.