Gift Sharing

I used the forgotten tradition of “gift culture”, found in village marriages of Telangana State, India to create a social dialogue between two married couple/two people. In the villages of Telangana, newly married couples are presented with a unique gift. This gift challenges the couple because it is wrapped in many layers of newspapers and tied with cotton threads. This was an endurance performance for the couple, with a goal to break the threads with their fingers. Then the couple found a surprise gift inside, such as snacks. The meaning of this gift is sharing and caring and living together even through obstacles, hardships, and pain. I wanted to expand this forgotten traditional gift culture and open it up for wider audiences. I invited any two people and couples in the village Vellulla to open these gifts regardless of color, race, gender, and ethnicity. Every gift had a surprise inside. Both shared the gift equally. There are some instructions which helped participants to take part in the performance. In this way, this performative gift object opened social dialogue and built relations between married couple/two people. Ten gifts were placed at Prayogillu as part of the installation. At a time, there were 10 pairs of couples/two people who engaged in this performance to create social dialogue. This project funded as part of School of Education Summer Research-2022 by Global Engagement Office, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI, USA.

Gift Performance, Prayogillu, Vellulla, Telangana, India, June 2022.