Janaki looks for truth through humor. She makes art in the form of plays, animations, essays, talks, illustrations, and objects. Her narratives tend to be allusive rather than linear. Her work gets made in a process of applied research.

Such as …

The Egg + Sperm :: Hide + Seek. A street game where people wearing sperm hats chase an enormous egg.

Your Heart Is In My Mouth. An installation where audiences read text through microscopes to piece together the mystery of where an immigrant doctor’s heart has disappeared to.

Ububu. A marionette show about power and the Power of Charisma.

It’s Not That Hard To Write A Book. A brightly-colored exhibit where everyone who enters becomes an author.

     She’s recently worked on the Karagiozis Project in Athens. In this piece, the hero of Greek shadow theater lets an audience vote him into different scenarios that unfold based on audience choices. That project is about what democracy feels like, and it uses this particular protagonist as the representative for every citizen.


Janaki Ranpura designs performer / participant relationships for galleries, public spaces, and theaters. She was a fellow at the Playwrights’ Center of Minneapolis for three years, working on puppet dramas. For two years she was a member of Public Art St Paul’s City Art Collaboratory, a think tank of artists and scientists tackling urban issues. She’s in the process of developing Your Heart Is In My Mouth, a toy theater performance about family history developed through Pillsbury House Theater and with installation components created while in residence at the MacDowell Colony. She was a 2010 Artists on the Verge art and technology fellow with Northern Lights MN. Ranpura has designed and led giant puppet parades in Taiwan, South Korea, and the United States. She has received awards from the Minnesota State Arts Board, Forecast Public Art, the Jerome Foundation, and a Citation of Excellence for her large-scale shadow theater piece Lovesick Sea Play. She worked on Baby Marx with Pedro Reyes at Art Basel Parcours and the Walker Art Center. She trained with Larry Reed’s company Shadowlight, at École Lecoq, and at Yale University.

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