Current Residency: Sri Vamsi Matta

The University of Wisconsin–Madison Division of the Arts and the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures are pleased to welcome multi-hyphenate performer, theatre practitioner, and playwright Sri Vamsi Matta to campus for the 2023–2024 academic year through the Interdisciplinary Arts Residency Program.

Vamsi’s residency includes a 3-credit course in Fall 2023, “Whose Art Is It Anyway? Explorating Folk Performance from South Asia.” This course examines art through the social, personal, political, and spiritual aspects of one’s life and society through South Asia cultural and performance practices. The residency will also include performances, workshops, and cross-departmental and community collaborations.

About the Artist

Artist-in-residence, Sri Vamsi Matta, wearing a blue suit with a red tie, in the style of B. R. Ambedkar, the Indian social reformer and political leader. Vamsi is posing in the Chazen Museum of Art in the University of Wisconsin Madison campus.

Sri Vamsi Matta, (Vamsi, he/him), is a Bangalore-based theatre actor, writer, and director. His practice is influenced by his Dalit identity, experience, and social location. The histories of his family and community inform the questions, topics, and mediums that Vamsi engages with through his work. His most recent traveling solo show performance, Come Eat With Me – an invitation to folks from all caste, faith, and race locations – has received a tremendous response in the national and regional media across India. His play, Star in the Sky about the institutional murder of a Dalit Ph.D. scholar in 2016, often seen as a moment of reckoning for Indian academia’s inherent caste biases, won second place at the prestigious Tata Literature Live! Sultan Padamsee Award For Playwriting Sultan Padamsee Playwriting Awards. While in Madison, Vamsi is excited to engage with UW Madison’s own reckoning with historic inequities and contributing to its present campus culture and goals of fostering a greater sense of inclusion and belonging through the arts.


  • Final Event Announced for UW–Madison Division of the Arts’ Interdisciplinary Artist-in-Residence, Sri Vamsi Matta

  • In case you missed it, here’s a taste of Come Eat With Me, a performance piece that unpacks questions of oppression and solidarity, grief and joy, and the everyday victories of the human spirit in the face of structural injustices.

  • Vamsi appeared on WORT FM’s “World View” on Sunday, October 15. Listen to the show online.


Guest Artists

Nisha Abdulla

Nisha Abdulla is a Bangalore-based theatremaker practicing as playwright, director, dramaturg, and educator. Her anti-oppressive arts practice places care, curiosity, and community at the core of the creation process. She is Artistic Director of Qabila, where her work centers new writing around lived experience and the dissenting imagination. Nisha is a founder member of OffStream, an artist collective that makes and enables creative projects around anti-caste advocacy. Nisha also teaches at schools and universities, most recently at Azim Premji University (Bangalore) and NALSAR (Hyderabad).

Lakshmana KP

Lakshmana, founding member of Jangama Collective, is an actor, director, poet, and performance educator from Karnataka, India. He graduated from the Intercultural Theatre Institute Singapore in 2018 and from Ninasam Theatre Institute in 2012. Lakshman has been exploring questions around Dalit aesthetics in performance, and his two recent plays, We the People of India and Daklakatha Devikavya, explore intersecting questions about Dalit political modernity and cultural memory.

Dr. Brahma Prakash

Dr. Brahma Prakash is a writer, cultural theorist and an Assistant Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies at the School of Arts and Aesthetics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is the author of critically acclaimed book, Cultural Labour: Conceptualizing the ‘Folk Performance’ in India (Oxford University Press, 2019) and Body on the Barricades: Life, Art and Resistance in Contemporary India (LeftWord 2023). He has also published in various research journals, including Asian Theatre Journal, Performance Research, Theatre Research International, Economic and Political Weekly and others. He was a fellow at the South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University, Germany (2021) and the CRASSH at Cambridge University, UK (2018-19). His popular columns on art, culture and politics frequently appear in Scroll, Wire, Outlook, Newsminute, Indian Cultural Forum and other media platforms. His opinions have also appeared in the BBC, Aljazeera, New Arab, Print and other popular podcasts in Hindi and English.

Rahee Punyashloka

Rahee Punyashloka is an artist, writer, researcher, and experimental filmmaker based out of Bhubaneswar and New Delhi. Working across disciplines, he seeks to illuminate the vastly unrepresented/underrepresented artistic history of the anti-caste struggle and the Dalit identity. He tries to create online interventions around the same under the moniker “artedkar.” His works have been exhibited in numerous venues including International Film Festival Rotterdam; Athens Video Art Festival; Tribeca Film Festival (New York); ARKIPEL (Jakarta); Ishara Art Foundation (Dubai); KHOJ (New Delhi); Museum of Art and Photography (Bangalore); Arts House (Melbourne), among others. His solo show, fieldnotes from begumpura, is currently on show at Pulp Society, New Delhi.

Shrujana Shridhar

Shrujana N Shridhar is an artist and illustrator based in Mumbai. Her practice examines the intersection of caste, gender, and capitalism. It honours the resilience of communities that fought caste and gender oppressions for centuries. The detailed and lively compositions in her works are inspired by the idea of community as safe spaces within the anti-caste movement. She employs vivid colour palettes to create tactile and organic perceptions. Her works have been published in magazines in India and abroad. Shrujana has written and illustrated children’s books. She runs the Dalit Panther Archive, digitizing and archiving Little Magazines and literature published by the members of the Dalit Panther movement. She is a co-founder of Maveli Nadu Collective, an anti-caste publication. She has received the SSAF–AAA Research Grant for Archiving Histories of Art, Ideas, and Visual Culture in 2019. Her works have been exhibited at Clark House Initiative, Mumbai, The Showroom, London, China Residencies at Centre for Media at Risk at the University of Pennsylvania, and Arts House, Melbourne. IG: @srujangatha