BENGALURU: At a time when Yakshagana was only a male prerogative, Priyanka K Mohan made her foray into the space.
Now, even 40 years later, she is one of the few women in the folk dance drama scene. Mohan – who recently released the book Yaksha, published by her – started learning Yakshagana at the age of seven from her father K Mohan. She told CE, “The biggest problem has been lack of awareness of the art form.
"People know about it but they do not know enough to fully understand and appreciate it. We chose to launch our book at the festival, since we wanted to reach out to our audience directly.”
Mohan has also been conducting workshops in schools to introduce children from a young age to the art form.
She hopes the children’s book – available in English and Kannada (translated by Ashok Kumar KA) – will help her in her endeavour of spreading awareness.
She also runs YakshaDegula, an organisation that aims to teach people Yakshagana and revive the art form to its former glory by holding performances around Karnataka, while also giving local artists a platform to perform for larger audiences.
In addition, she also plans to publish a series of books, each of which will be based on a different Indian art form.
Yaksha is the story is of an eight-year-old boy who dresses up as a Yakshagana performer to school for their celebration of Super Hero Day.
This draws the curiosity of his schoolmates who have dressed up as Superman or Batman and the like.
“The story conveys the message of unconventional heroes in our daily lives, while informing the reader about Yakshagana and its historical and cultural significance in Karnataka,” says Mohan.
Yaksha is available at the Paperback BookShop in Ranga Shankara, JP Nagar, and on Amazon and Kindle.