Like RRR's Golden Globe Win, The Red Dot Revolt Event Is Here To Remind Us That South Asian Arts & Culture Is Multi-Faceted

The Red Dot Revolt event celebrates the talents of artists, dancers, musicians and other creatives, while highlighting that South Asian culture is incredibly diverse.

South Asian culture can so often be generalised — by not only the west but within the diaspora itself — as a homogenous one. Yet, we only need to refer to Telugu film RRR's recent win at the Golden Globes as a reminder that Bollywood and fair-skinned, Hindi-speaking people are not the only South Asians that exist and are worth celebrating. The South Indian film's smash hit, Naatu Naatu became the first Asian song to receive a Golden Globe, winning the category of 'Best Original Song'.

"Everyone says it's the best movie ever," says Kripa Krithivasan, who along with fellow Sydney-based creative, Raveena Grover, has organised the upcoming Red Dot Revolt event.

Kripa, whose heritage is South Indian Tamil, and Raveena, a queer Punjabi Australian woman, decided to organise an event that celebrates the talents of artists, dancers, musicians and other creatives, while highlighting that South Asian culture is incredibly diverse.

"When we talk about South Asian representation, it's usually limited to certain groups and certain types of South Asians," says Kripa. "Typically the palatable South Asian we see in the mainstream," she explains, is "fair-skinned, upper-caste, typically cis and people that have been brought up in Australia so have 'palatable' accents."

"There are more than 10 countries in South Asia and culture is so different amongst each country, so we wanted to find a platform that celebrates them all."

As well as Indian and Sri Lankan artists, Red Dot Revolt's lineup of 20 includes talent from Nepal, Maldives, Fiji and more. Raveena says that despite coming from the similar region, it's important to have a space "where we can still learn about each other and different countries and religions".

"For everyone who is a performer at Red Dot Revolt, it's their space to equally express their art and talents."

Another distinguishing feature of this event is the fact that it's organised by and targeted towards younger South Asian Australians, so conversations unique to this generation of children of migrants can truly be had.

"A couple of years ago, the spaces were primarily held by older people and first-gen migrants" says Kripa.

"Some of us who've grown up here have a very specific kind of connection to our culture. Identifying as brown is very different to someone who's moved here and identifies as brown, so being able to capture that through the event was what we wanted to do."

Speaking of being children of immigrants, Kripa emphasises "the privilege that we have, and the moral dilemma that we have as migrants in a country that is a colonised country".

"It's really key for us to acknowledge that we're living on unceded land and it's an honour and privilege doing the event on Gadigal land. We wouldn't have this community if we didn't profit off this violence."

In terms of what the performances and acts will be like, Raveena says each artist has been given "complete agency about what they'd like to produce and how they produce their work".

"What makes this event so special is that there's such an eclectic collection of performances and artwork where every individual artist is represented," she explains. "In that sense, their version and their relationship to South Asia is represented as well."

There's the opportunity for their works to reflect something beyond what "white institutions and circles" perceive as South Asian culture, such as "colour and fun and weddings". "South Asian art can be that," explains Kripa, "but it can also be more than that".

"We'll be able to see what art is for 20 different people, and it's just providing a space for those 20 people to express themselves where they are taken seriously."

Tickets for the Barfi & Beats afterparty following the Red Dot Revolt event on Saturday, January 21 at the The Red Rattler Theatre, Marrickville are available to purchase here.