ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE VARUN NARAIN: A universe of puppetry, botany & queer survival

March 7, 2024
Varun Narain held an an artistic intervention at the Artistic Freedom Conference 2024 in Oslo. Photo: Jannik Abel
If you find yourself in Oslo between the 10th and 13th of March, you have the rare opportunity to experience ‘Dark&Delicious’ by artists Varun and Shaad at Nordic Black Theatre — a unique artistic performance combining botany, poetry and queer survival.

Imagining freedom and inclusion

Varun Narain is a queer puppeteer and live performance director from India. He combines modern and traditional puppetry and works on articulating gender fluidity and sexuality. Narain has taught Puppetry and contemporary communication at Jamia Millia University for over 10 years, as well as at the Guru Gobind Indraprastha University in New Delhi. Moreover, he has a degree in botany and through his artistry he explores intelligence and survival strategies in the natural world.

— I am very much inspired and healed by the world of plants, lichens and fungi and their physical presence in the cites. I believe in blurring physical, mental and biological boundaries, Narain says.

For many years Narain has been working on gender-fluid characters inspired by what he calls the “wood-wide web”. In recent years, Narain has increasingly faced challenges and a restricted space for expression. He experienced censorship due to the themes reflected in his artistic work and is currently one of Safemuse’s artists-in-residence in Oslo.

— As an artist in residence with Safemuse here in Norway, I hope to rediscover free expression and interact with students and artists to create ways to imagine new possibilities of freedom and inclusion, he says.

This spring Varun and Shaad will perform 'Dark&Delicious' at Nordic Black Theatre in Oslo. Photo: Nordic Black Theatre

“I hope to rediscover free expression and interact with students and artists to create ways to imagine new possibilities of freedom and inclusion.”

– Varun Narain, Safemuse artist-in-residence  

A universe of puppetry, botany & queer survival

During his residency, Narain has worked on ‘Dark&Delicious’ – a collaborative performance with his artistic partner, actor and poet Shaad. The performance, which combines botany, poetry and queer survival, will be set up between the 10th and 13th of March at Nordic Black Theatre in Oslo.

— Having Varun with us, and working with him has been interesting on so many different levels, says Celina Jerman Bright-Taylor, Safemuse’s general manager. Visually interesting, challenging us intellectually, all while being extremely funny. It has been fascinating to get an insight into his creative processes and the stories behind each of his colourful puppets. We are very much looking forward to his performance at Nordic Black Theatre and invite everyone to come see the show!

For the past months, Varun has been enjoying a creative collaboration with Nordic Black Theatre  (NBT) and preparing for the performance in Oslo. The artistic director at NBT, Cliff Moustache, is looking forward to presenting ‘Dark&Delicious’ on his stage.

— Very rarely do we get the opportunity to experience such beautiful puppets that convey deep and reflected drama in a simple and sincere way. The narrative grabs and engages thanks to the strong qualities of the artists as the puppet becomes a third artist on stage. At Nordic Black Theatre we want to give them the opportunity to delve deeply into their artistic universe without fear or restricted by authorities.

Tickets for the show can be bought here.

Check out the facebook-event here.

I hope to rediscover freedom of speech

About us Support us I hope to rediscover freedom of speech Varun Narain interviewed in BLIKK magazine Varun Narain is a queer puppeteer and live performance director from India. He combines modern and traditional puppetry and works on articulating gender fluidity and sexuality. Narain has taught Puppetry and contemporary communication at Jamia Millia University for

I hope to rediscover freedom of speech Varun Narain interviewed in BLIKK magazine Varun Narain is a queer puppeteer and live performance director from India. He combines modern and traditional puppetry and works on articulating gender fluidity and sexuality. Narain has taught Puppetry and contemporary communication at Jamia Millia University for

I hope to rediscover freedom of speech Varun Narain interviewed in BLIKK magazine Varun Narain is a queer puppeteer and live performance director from India. He combines modern and traditional puppetry and works on articulating gender fluidity and sexuality. Narain has taught Puppetry and contemporary communication at Jamia Millia University for ...

Varun Narain – A universe of puppetry, botany & queer survival

About us Support us ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE VARUN NARAIN: A universe of puppetry, botany & queer survival Varun Narain held an an artistic intervention at the Artistic Freedom Conference 2024 in Oslo. Photo: Jannik Abel If you find yourself in Oslo between the 10th and 13th of March, you have the rare opportunity to experience ‘Dark&Delicious’ by

ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE VARUN NARAIN: A universe of puppetry, botany & queer survival Varun Narain held an an artistic intervention at the Artistic Freedom Conference 2024 in Oslo. Photo: Jannik Abel If you find yourself in Oslo between the 10th and 13th of March, you have the rare opportunity to experience ‘Dark&Delicious’ by

ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE VARUN NARAIN: A universe of puppetry, botany & queer survival Varun Narain held an an artistic intervention at the Artistic Freedom Conference 2024 in Oslo. Photo: Jannik Abel If you find yourself in Oslo between the 10th and 13th of March, you have the rare opportunity to experience ‘Dark&Delicious’ by ...

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