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Street and Majlis
Maldives Art Installations
Modern Coup Period
1 March 2012






Photos used below are by Mohamed Ali and Mohamed Waheed from Haveeru. Photo of Women's Sit-In protest from Minivan News.


Last Thursday witnessed an interactive display by two of the country's most experienced street performance groups - the Maldivian Democratic party (MDP) and the Maldives security forces.

Male' and the Majlis building were contested when coup hegemony engaged in direct dialectical discourse with an unrepentant avant-garde. The result was impressive crowd and uniformed installations, heuristic spontaneity, and multimedia explorations.







The MDP creations use horizontal lines of flowing yellow cotton dyed with the fluttering symbol of Justice, interspersed with bloodstained white flags.
Blue plastic flag poles inject striking vertical highlights, linking earth and sky.

Duality also informs the MDP's formations, which are gendered. Separate crowds of men and women chant and march into the streets towards the Majlis.



The females approach the Majlis from the east, referencing Venus, while the males channel Gandhi (sometimes successfully) from the south and west.
The northern enforcers, mindful of their resort sponsors, ensure there is no inappropriate socialising.



As usual, the art department at Security excels itself. The troupe's costumes are splendid; an unsubtle blend of Star Wars and Predator designed to stimulate rather than repel.




Choreography merges with biology as the MDP women meet a wall of hard plastic shields just off Sosun Magu - a shady location ideal for a lengthy erection installation. Soft yielding plastic mats appear, and over the next ten hours the sitting women entertain their fellow artists with songs, speeches and friendly advice.


The men's march lacks such impromptu finesse. There are no chocolates, sweets or whispered telephone numbers for the security boys on Ali Kilegefan Magu.











Meanwhile at the Majlis, the country's best actors give inspired performances, confirming repeated claims that they can never be paid enough.



A classic MDP vs anti-MDP scrum frames and informs the Majlis doorway.




An old pink prop, the Speaker's chair, is contested to the point of deconstruction. MDP art technicians had prepared the bottom for media attention.




Moving deftly from physicality to orality, Ali Waheed from the MDP formally greets Majlis speaker Abdulla Shahid who admires Ali's tonsils.




Art directors relocate all further discussions to the hallway, with innovative dancing and calisthenics on the periphery.


Security is neither overawed nor outdone by its Majlis competitors.



Confined to the streets, they find direction from the roadmap and emulate the Majlis scrum technique while adding realised corporealisations such as a professional tear-gas launcher.


Back at the Majlis..



Discord is dissolved by the unified harmony of the MDP choir. Card-prompts calligraphating 'traitor' facilitate audience participation.




Hands out and not a dollar bill in sight, Majlis members improvise and reconceptualise their stand-up routines.


Suddenly the show is over.



The chief guest departs.




MDP Reiko Moosa, savagely assaulted on 8 February along with many other MDP members of the Majlis, and critically injured in hospital for weeks, informs a disappointed Thasmeen (left) that he will not be receiving a kiss today.





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