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Brushstrokes: Price of Silence’s ‘Cutting Tradition’ piece

Stage performance of a few women in white coats holding down a woman on a table to commit Female Genital Mutilation, while others throw red rose pertals in air. One woman stands in the front and centre of the stage looking solemnly.

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Female genital mutilation, commonly referred to as FGM, is the partial or total removal of the female genitalia or any other cosmetic procedure to alter the female genitalia for non-medical, cosmetic cultural circumstances. In a way, this takes away the women’s right to enjoy sexual pleasure and freedom. Their ability to control their own sexuality gets lost in the process. Price of Silence’s mission is to take that reality, the reality of FGM, which is very foreign to a certain degree, for many women and men, and humanise the experience on stage so that it translates into audiences developing an emotional ethnographic theatrical experience that transcends the mirage casing of culture and geography. Price of Silence Co-Artistic Director Jamali Corniel transforms that mission on stage into ‘Cutting Tradition’. In her interpretation, she takes FGM from the narrative of traditional practices and filters it into movement so as to directly touch audiences. It is through this witnessing that Jamali empowers an emotional homage to the survivors, the warrior women who have been subjected to the practice, while echoing the drumming of women standing up against the practice. This is done in a present amplification of experience to surge audiences to help in cutting off this tradition from the arsenal of gender apartheid. Much of how we consume advocacy is through the sterilised and detached lens of educational materials. Even when one watches a Public Service Announcement (PSA) or films, there is an inherent barrier to the medium, whether it be on a laptop, phone, television, or cinema. Pointing out this sometimes less than obvious obstacle into stirring a physical and emotional experience of live witnessing is not to take away the importance of amassing knowledge through contrasting mediums of consumption but in understanding the power of ‘being present’.

(Artistic Director of Price of Silence, Jason ‘Jayology’ Jeremias)

Pic Source: Price of Silence

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