"What determines our identities anyway?" asks Hetain Patel. As a child, Patel wanted to be like Spider-Man or Bruce Lee; later, he aimed to be more like his father, who displays a much different kind of bravery. From these ambitions, Patel's new show Be Like Water examines shifting identities of all kinds, using dance and bold imagery to power a story of self-examination and self-creation.
As a conceptual artist, Patel has used photography, sculpture, installation and performance to challenge cultural identity. For his work, he has grown a mustache exactly like the one his father wore when he emigrated from India to the United Kingdom in the 1960s, and remixed the practice henna tattooing to incorporate English words and comics books. Patel's conclusion about identity: that it is an ever-shifting game of imitation.
Yuyu Rau is a dancer trained in ballet, contemporary and Chinese classical dance. Born in Taiwan and now a resident of the United Kingdom, Rau has performed with a wide range of dance companies and worked with choreographers like Wayne McGregor, Javier De Frutos, Luca Silvestrini and Douglas Thorpe.
Most recently, Yau has toured with conceptual artist Hetain Patel, performing in his stage work Be Like Water. In the piece, Rau acts as Patel's translator, and often stands in to help him tell his story.