About the Grant

$35,000 to support Ibrahim Quraishi, Paul Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky and Parul Shah's Five Streams (MAP 2004), a multidisciplinary, multimedia performance piece that weaves narratives drawn from three canonical works of Hindu and Indo-Islamic literature.

About the Project

Commissioned by the Asia Society, Five Streams is a multidisciplinary, multimedia performance work that melds voice, live and pre-recorded sound, movement, video, and three-dimensional animation. Conceived and created by renowned artist, director and filmmaker Ibrahim Quraishi in collaboration with composer Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky, and choreographer Parul Shah, Five Streams offers a full-sensory journey through the beliefs, mythologies, and cultures of South Asia past and present. In particular, the work explores the underlying—and too often overlooked—shared stories, philosophies and world view that continue to unite the people of the region, whether Muslim or Hindu.

The piece weaves interlocking narratives drawn from three canonical work of Hindu and Indo-Islamic literature: Anarkali, a tragic court romance of Mughal India; the Bhagavad-Gita, the deeply philosophical climax of the Indian epic Mahabharata; and Who Knoweth Himself, a mystical treatise by the great Twelfth-century Sufi philosopher, Ibn al-Arabi. The rich legacy of historical literary texts, particularly in South Asia, provides a crucial context from which to understand the worldview of people living in the region. Collectively, the three texts selected for Five Streams offer contemporary audiences insights that question monolithic doctrinal orthodoxy, redefine the boundaries of religious authority, and present a vision of navigating the group identities and imagined differences that often divide communities.

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