GD Podcast #2: Ania Catherine talks gender academia, gender norms, and creative freedom

(Use headphones for optimum sound quality)

This podcast recorded over Skype with Ania Catherine – a (first) name I had no idea I would have trouble pronouncing (aa-n-ya, as opposed to a-nee-a) – is insightful and shows the many paths one could take to arrive at the title of ‘artist’.

The dancer-cum-academic-cum-movement-artist has a unique approach to her work; with both movement and academia instructing her decisions. Decisions that have seen an array of artistic ventures achieved – from photography to light projections, her work can be consumed at aniacatherne.com.

This chat speaks to the artist in all of us. The idea of unlearning was emboldened. An observation I’ve made from the general mind state of emerging artists to mid-career ones (and at times even veterans, though rare) is the growing disdain at labelling or being branded something – be it a style/technique, a form of theatre etc.

The search of creative freedom has meant more often than not, developing artists and, at times, established ones’ search for ‘the new’ leads to the use and merging of different styles. Techniques are no longer seen as dogmatic and unmoving, but as tools to construct an idea, a movement, a piece of work.

Ania Catherine, too, is an artist against the idea of labelling. Her practice makes the attempt at calling her a “style/movement” artist futile. And to achieve creative freedom, void of habits learnt through the indoctrination of movement schools, an unlearning phase needs to be explored. All to make the body a malleable vessel for new ideas. Unlearning to learn. A truly fascinating process.

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