32 3Arts supporters
$5,088 raised of $5,000 goal
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Funded on December 09, 2022
    • 102% contributed

Alight is a performance piece that tells a story of an isolated artist seeking inspiration to create. The work meditates on finding comfort in ourselves and our place in the universe, particularly from an Asian American perspective. I am assembling an ensemble of collaborators who will use movement, sound, light, and scenic design inspired by South Asian traditional and cinematic arts. Fueled with an ambitious vision, our team is raising funds for the development and production of this new work. 

About This Project

Like so many artistic works in recent years, this idea bubbled up at the end of the pandemic lockdown, when performing arts and audiences began to re-emerge. The isolation that so many of us felt and experienced inspired us to reflect on our connections to one another and to our creativity.

The story follows an artist trapped in their apartment, compelled by isolation to focus on the whirring dishwasher and the buzzing light of the fridge. Immediate surroundings are comforting but are not built to last. The artist eventually is visited by spirits of inspiration—a la A Christmas Carol—and is reminded of history, the earth, and the power of self. 

Using movement rooted in Bharatnatyam and contemporary dance forms, plus a soundscape that draws upon Carnatic music, Millennial pop culture, and cinematic scores from India and beyond, Alight will also reflect on Asian American feelings of isolation and being misunderstood. The piece explores the simultaneous tension of being gazed upon and dismissed, in which the protagonist artist must learn to nourish a desire to connect and express with others. Ultimately it is about trusting that we are “enough.”

Alight is set to have an initial premiere in Winter 2024. The movement will be led by myself and sound will be directed by P.M. Tummala, in addition to leaning on the talents of numerous other artistic and creative collaborators to bring this piece to life. We will develop the work for the stage with the support of a lighting and scenic designer to bring the setting and environment of the story to life.

As a movement artist and educator, my past work has often engaged stories from South Asian folklore and mythology, as well as improvisatory collaborations with musicians. My sound collaborator, P.M. Tummala, is a sound artist, multi-instrumentalist, and producer whose work explores identity and false memories as an imaginary aural companion to Indian modernism and Indo-futurism. 

As an artist, I am grateful to 3Arts for providing this opportunity to help fund a generative process of making a new artwork. So much creative work is seen only as a final product or performance. Often the pathways to production are overlooked, but have incredible richness and depth in themselves. Funding from 3AP will allow me to: 1) curate and compensate all members of the creative team; 2). tinker, draft, and find joy in the making, and; 3) feel compelled to share what we discover with all of you! Alight is about finding power in the journey and what is within us; with your support, we can help tell that story in a way that is meaningful to all of us, as creators.

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $25
    Social media shout out! ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    Above plus your name acknowledged in our program credits. ($50.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    Above plus 2 tickets to the performance and a link to the archived work to view again later. ($50.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250
    Above but with a total of 5 tickets to the performance plus a promotional poster autographed by the "Alight" creative team. ($125.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    Above plus an invitation to a Zoom conversation about the project with our "Alight" creative team. ($375.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $1000
    Above but with a total of 10 tickets to the performance and your name acknowledged in the program. ($750.00 is tax deductible.)

Ashwaty Chennat

Make a Wave Artist

Ashwaty Chennat is a movement artist and educator whose interdisciplinary and cultural exchange work sows seeds for empathy-building experiences. She has directed and choreographed contemporary dance rooted in South Asian forms with Mandala South Asian Performing Arts, where she collaborated …

View Ashwaty Chennat's profile
  • No updates yet, stay tuned!
    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Anitha Chennat

    • Shikha Sharma

    • Krissy Bergmark

    • Nicole Chen

    • Lavina Jadhwani

    • Tina Rowan

    • Veerendra Prasad

    • Mallika Sarma

    • Anna Specht

    • Madhavi Mai

    • Rupel Dedhia

    • Arun Ganesan

    • Shruti Patel

    • Anusha Dhasarathy

    • Dianna Frid

    • Rich Rankin

    • Rose Parisi

    • Ankur Singh

    • Hema Karunakaram

    • Harikrishna Sarma

    • Tuli Bera

    • Nora Sharp

    • Malini Sarma

    • Kinnari Vora

    • Ananth Kumar

    • Pranita Nayar

    • Ashley Fargnoli

    • Bhairavi Parekh

    • Maya Tatineni

    • Raji Arora

    • Suchi Bansal

    • Nilofer Ahmed

make it work


3AP Presenting Partner:

  Joyce Logo

 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council