Talking Shop: Conversations with Feminist Asian-American Artists
In honor of International Women's Day, we turn the spotlight on New York City-based Asian American female artists. We talk shop: politics, activism, and the process of making art in a messy world and a concrete city.
2007 has been declared the year of feminist art. From the MOMA to the College Art Association, New York City and national institutions are embracing "feminist" art. What does this institutional acceptance mean for grassroots working artists, who sing, write, draw, and act all while continuing to apply for funding, travel the subways, and create community?
Join us for thought-provoking conversations with writer BUSHRA REHMAN, visual artists SWATI KHURANA and CHANIKA SVETVILAS, comic book artist CHERYL GLADSTONE and theatre practitioner MARIAN YALINI THAMBYNAYAGAM and some tunes from cellist VARUNI TIRUCHELVAM. In this one-hour special, we'll explore the contemporary relevance of International Women's Day and examine the connections between art and activism, commerce and conscience, and the local and global.
Bushra Rehman is co-editor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism (Seal Press). Her mother says Bushra was born in an ambulance flying through the streets of Brooklyn. Her father is not so sure. Since there are no definitive records of the time of her birth, there is no real way of knowing, but it would explain a few things. Bushra is a vagabond poet who traveled for years with nothing more than a greyhound ticket and a book bag full of poems. Now, she performs her poetry regularly in theaters and colleges around the country. Lately, she's been spending her time flying through the streets of Brooklyn
and writing an on the road adventure novel for Muslim girls. Bushra To read poetry, or excerpts from her on-the-road desi adventure novel or memoir of being a Pakistani little rascal, visit her website www.bushrarehman.com
Cheryl Gladstone is a New York-based comic artist who draws comics primarily about queers, New York, and her wacky Jewlipino mother. Her work has appeared in dirtypop magazine and is sold at St. Mark's Bookstore in the East Village. She has exhibited at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art festival (MoCCA) in New York and has served as a guest lecturing artist at Hunter College. Check out Cheryl's work at http://www.stinkypoo.org/
Marian Yalini Thambynayagam
Marian Yalini Thambynayagam incorporates a unique blend of theater, spoken word, song, and dance in her solo work to explore issues in the Sri Lankan Diaspora--violence, detention, displacement--using gender and sexuality as a lens. Marian's collective work centers around interdisciplinary collaboration. She is interim Co- Artistic Director of much lauded APIA Women's performance group Mango Tribe. In addition she was the Movement Director for Descendants of Freedom: A Futuristic Queer Hip Hop Odyssey. She is a volunteer with the SOS Collective at the Audre Lorde Project. Marian also engages in subway spectacle and street theater to address issues of violence, war, and exploitation. As a youth worker Marian has worked with Freedom Academy High School in Brooklyn , Youth Solidarity Summer, and the Asian Arts Initiative's Youth Arts Workshop. She just finished a three
week internship with OfERR in Chennai, an organization working with Sri Lankan Refugees living in Indian refugee camps. Look out for Marian's performance piece Strange Rain during the National Asian American Theater Festival this Summer.
Varuni Tiruchelvam is a Tamil Sri Lankan American Queer Woman cellist and educator. She teaches high school in Brooklyn at El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice and runs the community garden. She also performs with Mango Tribe, an asian interdisiplinary theatre company for women and transfolk, Stone Forest Ensemble, a hip-hop/ classical/ afro-beat band, and Vidia, a women of color band.
Chanika Svetvilas, a Brooklyn based artist has used the suitcase as a springboard for trans-cultural intersections for the past 5 years. Chanika is presenting her first one-person show, Carry On Baggage at Gallery Three in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. In 2006 Svetvilas presented Suitcases on Tour, featuring suitcase travelers and equipped with a mobile immigration booth, as a public art performance in Corona Park, Flushing Meadows as part of the Queens Museum Fatal Love event. She has also exhibited at Rotunda Gallery, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and Denver International Airport. Svetvilas was the recipient of the Brooklyn Arts Council Regrant and was awarded a multimedia residency with Rotunda Gallery/Brooklyn Community Access Television (BCAT) in 2004 and was the artist-in-residence at Up-Set Press based in Brooklyn, NY in 2003. Chanika is a founding member of ThaiLinks ( www.thailinks.org ), a creative collective dedicated to increasing awareness on issues affecting Thai communities at home and abroad through art and activism and the co-founder of the biennial Thai Takes: Independent Film Festival to be presented this April at the Museum of the Moving Image and The Pioneer Theater. Check out www.thailinks.org/thaitakes3
Swati Khurana was born in India and raised in New York where she currently lives and works. Her work mines personal narratives and explores immigrant issues with a focus on gender, popular culture, and the seductive promises made by rituals. Khurana has been an Artist-in-Residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach (FL), Henry Street Settlement (NYC), and David & Julia White Colony (Costa Rica). She was accepted into the Bronx Museum's Artist-in-the-Marketplace Program and has received a New Visions Grant to research and create a site-specific video in Mexico City. In 2007, she will be the Inaugural Artist-in-Residence at the Kartong Village Development Committee (The Gambia, West Africa). In addition to several community-based projects, she has served as an Artist-in-Residence through the Bronx Museum at Bronx International High School, a new public school serving recent immigrant and refugee students. In 1997, she was a founding member of the South Asian Women's Creative Collective (SAWCC), a NYC-based organization dedicated to the advancement, visibility, and development of emerging and established South Asian women artists. For more, see www.swatikhurana.com
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