CELEBRATING INTERNATIONAL WOMANS DAY
Congratulating all women on International Womens Day.
This is a picture above is me, Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar, doing a chutti for a performance in a temple in Kerala, south India.
The picture below is of my Arungatum at the Old Kalamandalam, Kerala, south India, in 1974 with my ashan [guru] - the legend Kalamandalam Govinda Warrier Ashan - who taught me everything that I know.
From that day on I have been devoted to chutti, the intricate makeup used in Kathakali.
Male dominated world of Kathakali
As a female Kathakali Chutti [makeup] artist in the male dominted world of Kathakali for the last 48 years it has been an honour to have applied make up on the faces of the most celebrated Kathakali actors on earth.
I am the first female chutti artist in the world and toured with male actors and musicians travelling from temple to temple.
One problem being a women touring with an all male Kathakali Troupe was after sitting on the floor all night applying the chutti I was filthy by the morning and it was hard finding a place where I could have a shower. The men would take a bath in the temple pond or sometimes in a river and I had to find a friendly house who would let me have a shower there.
I admit it was not normal to have a female cutti artist at that time but I have been treated with great respect for almost half a century.
Sometime I would be the only chutti artist for the performance indicating the level of trust the artists had in me and my ability.
I am lucky to be able to have done the things that I wanted to to do, even though they were a bit risky, like travelling overland from England to India in 1972.
To all women in the world
I wish all women in the world the right to follow their dreams and live the life they want to without fear or repression..