Exhibition

The Red Dress Project

Dates of event: Until 16 Jun 2022 Mon - Thur, Daily Opening Time: 10:00am - Daily Closing Time: 5:00pm

Venue Address: The Window Gallery, City Arts, 11-13 Hockley, Nottingham, NG1 1FH

Woman in a long red dress standing on a small plastic chair, leaning forwards almost diagonally. She is standing under the framework of a house - like structure, with beams holding it up and green tarpaulin around the sides.

A lifelong performance and photography project created by artist and choreographer Manuela Benini. Capturing an evolving series of photographs featuring Manuela’s choreographic movement interactions as she dances within natural, architectural and industrial landscapes.

The Red Dress Project was launched in Ladakh, India in 2006 and has travelled internationally ever since. The resulting collection of photographs is a powerful global evocation of gender, place and identity, shining a light on human rights issues and our impact on the environment.

Woman in a flowing red dress, leaning backwards with her arm in the air. She stands on a yellow piece of concrete against the backdrop of houses and piles of rubble.

This selection includes images from Manuela’s performances in India captured over a decade by photographers Mulchand K. Dedhia and Devansh Jhaveri. Each location has been chosen to draw attention to environments in which manual labourers suffer from poor working conditions and human rights violations. From Asia’s biggest landfill site at Deonar in Mumbai, to Alang – the largest ship breaking yard in the world, to the salt farming industries in the Thar Desert, in the Kutch District, Gujarat.

Woman in a long red dress standing on a small plastic chair, leaning forwards almost diagonally. She is standing under the framework of a house - like structure, with beams holding it up and green tarpaulin around the sides.

Manuela’s enduring association with the red dress has embedded it into her artistic creation.

With her red dress, Manuela transforms everything around her and reclaims public spaces. Dancing and responding to each landscape and community with movement, gathering energy from rhythm, vibration and participation.

The red dress embodies Manuela’s passion and the danger our Earth is in. With a fragility, yet also the strength of what humanity can do if we decide to tune in. The red dress forces us to listen.

About the artist

Manuela is an artist with a passion for movement as a tool for transformation. She considers herself a Londoner born in Brazil and performs and produces work mainly for outdoor environments, in non-ticketed performances and public interventions. She learnt classical Ballet as a child and Kathak dance as an adult, one of the eight major forms of Indian classical dance. Throughout her journey as a dancer, Manuela has explored the vocabularies of Afro-Brazilian dance styles and Butoh, a form of Japanese dance theatre.

With thanks to:

Bahkti Shah

Mulchand K. Dedhia

Devansh Jhaveri