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    The life of Martin Luther King Jr, through storytelling and patua art.

    Bringing the ideals and life of Martin Luther King Jr, one of the most known faces of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, to the fore will be author Arthur Flowers with a storytelling performance of his graphic novel, I See the Promised Land: A Life of Martin Luther King Jr. The performance, presented by publisher Tara Books,  will have the Memphis native touching upon the landmarks from King’s life—such as his interaction with Mahatma Gandhi, his march on Washington, the Birmingham children’s crusade of 1963 and his death in Memphis. Flowers will incorporate chants and songs from the Civil Rights Movement and will perform with a kalimba (an African thumb piano). While he is a griot himself and will be performing in the West African storytelling tradition, the performance will also have a patua scroll depicting the Civil Rights Movement made by artist Manu Chitrakar from West Bengal (who did the illustrations for the book as well).
    Speaking about the relevance of King today, Flowers says, “The dispossessed will always have to struggle to make progress. King Jr had a major sense of affinity for the struggle of the Dalits in India.” The event will also touch upon Dalit rights activist BR Ambedkar’s life and his book The Buddha and His Dhamma. V Geetha, editorial director at Tara Books, says, “We decided we’d like to use this occasion to frame Dr King’s life in terms of another great and visionary life, that of Dr Ambedkar. So we will also have A Amal, an anti-caste rights activist, singing out his life.”
    Today at the Book Building, Thiruvanmiyur, from 6.30 pm. Free entry. Details: 42601033

    —Simar Bhasin


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