Archival Resistance

The South Asian Women’s Creative Collective (SAWCC) is pleased to present Archival Resistance, an afternoon of discussion, strategy-sharing and artistic activation in conjunction with our 20th anniversary visual arts exhibition, ​Archival Alchemy. At a moment when South Asian communities, women, and immigrant neighborhoods like the Lower East Side are being targeted by an evidence-averse administration, ​this exhibition reflects on the complex global and personal histories that shape conflicting views of our contemporary moment. Several works explore the role that archives play in creating official histories, papering over dissent and managing the disappearance of non-citizens, while others present or produce counter archives that resist such erasure and offer strategies for empowerment.

Using Archival Alchemy as a platform to creatively respond to this fraught political landscape, Archival Resistance will feature artists from the exhibition alongside other artist-activists who use historically resonant materials to rethink identity configurations, community-building and narratives past, present and future, while creating structures for the preservation and dissemination of alternate forms of knowledge.

Note: The final session of Archival Resistance will feature two participatory performances: I Never Ask For It by Blank Noise Action Heroes and ID Shop by Sue Jeong Ka. To contribute to I Never Asked for It, consider bringing a garment in which you experienced sexual harassment or violence (more here). To learn more about participating in ID Shop, click here.

Date & Time: Sunday May 7, 2017, 3-7 PM

Venue: Abrons Arts Center​, H​enry Street Settlement,
466 Grand Street (at Pitt Street) New York, NY 10002



Participants: Priyanka Dasgupta, Saisha Grayson, Heather Hart (Black Lunch Table), Action Heroes Kat Frances Lieder & Bedatri (Blank Noise), Sue Jeong Ka, Baseera Khan, Amy Khoshbin, Jaret Vadera (Art+Community)

Program Schedule:

2.30 pm Doors open, audience check in
3.00 pm Session 1: Building Archives & Allies
Participants: Priyanka Dasgupta, Heather Hart, Baseera Khan, Jaret Vadera
Moderator: Saisha Grayson
4.30 pm 15 minute break
4.45 pm Session 2: Antagonistic Archivists: Participatory Art-as-Politics
Presenters: Sue Jeong Ka, Blank Noise, Amy Khoshbin
 5.30 pm  Open Session
Audience members invited to participate in interactive presentations
6.30 pm Reception

Participant Biographies:

Priyanka Dasgupta is a visual artist with an interdisciplinary, research based practice. She works primarily across the mediums of video, sound, photography and sculpture. Priyanka has a MA in Studio Art from New York University and the International Center of Photography, New York (2003), and a BA in English Literature from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, Delhi (2000). She is a recipient of an NEA grant (2004), and has participated in residencies including Transparent Studio at Bose Pacia (2012), Aljira Emerge (2007) and the AIM Program (2005), in New York. Recently, Priyanka’s work has been exhibited at the Changjiang Museum of Contemporary Art in China, Shirin Gallery, and the Queens Museum in New York, Galleria di Piazza San Marco in Italy, the British Film Institute in London and the Lalit Kala Akademi in New Delhi, India. Priyanka has been invited to give artist talks at universities and institutions including Montclair University in New Jersey and the Asian American Arts Council in New York. Reviews of her work have been included in the New York Times, Times of India, Take on Art and Art India. Priyanka is represented by Shrine Empire Gallery in New Delhi, India. She lives in New York, where she is currently completing the Digital and Interdisciplinary Art Practice MFA at the City College of New York while teaching contemporary art, education and media studies at New York University and City College.

Saisha Grayson is a curator, writer, art historian and teacher focused on the intersections of contemporary art, feminist politics, and cultural activism. From 2011 to 2016, she was Assistant Curator at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where she organized the Museum’s presentation of Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey, curated Chitra Ganesh: Eyes of Time, and co-curated Agitprop!. Most recently, she co-organized I want a president…(a collective reading – DC), a socially-engaged public art project that culminated in an action at The White House during the 2016 Creative Time Summit in DC. Grayson is also a Ph.D candidate at the Graduate Center, CUNY where she is finishing her dissertation, Cellist, Catalyst, Collaborator: The Work of Charlotte Moorman.  Her writing has appeared in print and online journals, including n.paradoxa, Moving Image Review and Art Journal (MIRAJ), e-flux and in museum and gallery publications.

Heather Hart is an interdisciplinary artist and co-founder of The Black Lunch Table (BLT), an oral-history archiving project. First staged in 2005, BLT’s primary aim is the production of discursive sites, wherein cultural producers engage in dialogue on a variety of critical issues.  BLT mobilizes a democratic rewriting of contemporary cultural history by animating discourse around and among the people living it. BLT includes a Wikipedia initiative focused on a collective authoring of a specific set of articles pertaining to the lives and works of black artists. Based in Brooklyn, NY, Hart has been artist in residence at Joan Mitchell Center, McColl Center of Art + Innovation, Bemis Center for Art, LMCC Workspace, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, Santa Fe Art Institute, Fine Arts Work Center, and at the Whitney ISP. Hart has received grants from Creative Capital, Joan Mitchell Foundation, Harpo Foundation, Jerome Foundation, and a fellowship from NYFA. Her work has also been exhibited widely including at Franconia Sculpture Park, Socrates Sculpture Park, University of Toronto, Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park, Studio Museum in Harlem, ICA Philadelphia, Art in General, The Drawing Center, MoMA PS1, and the Brooklyn Museum among others. She studied at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Princeton University in New Jersey, and received her MFA from Rutgers University.

Action Heroes Kat Frances Lieder & Bedatri will be participating on behalf of Blank Noise. Blank Noise is a growing international network of Action Heroes: citizens who take agency to tackle sexual violence. It was initiated in 2003, as a grad-student project at Srishti School of Art Design and Technology. This was at a time when street sexual violence was considered a non-issue and dismissed merely as ‘eve teasing’, something that was normal, everyday, expected, and accepted. All of Blank Noise has been built on the lived experiences of its Action Heroes. It gathers testimonials of sexual violence and disperses them back. It tackles the fear-based relationship women have been taught to have with their cities. It seeks to build ownership of the issue of sexual violence by making it visible, and changing attitudes that perpetuate such violence. Over the past decade, BN has been instrumental in enabling dialogue on the attitudes towards street harassment through a series of events and interventions. Blank Noise facilitates events and actions designed for public participation, both on the web and the streets of different cities. Projects include Safe City Pledge, Talk To Me, Hahaha Sangha, Being Idle, Step-By-Step Guide To Unapologetic Walking, Blogathon 2006, and I Never Ask For It.

Action Hero Kat Frances Lieder is a PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is currently writing her dissertation, which explores performative responses to the Delhi bus gang rape of 2012 and argues for the importance of these performances in reframing discourse on sexual violence in contemporary urban India around the everyday and the role of affect. She has published essays on theater, sexual violence, and feminism in India in Asian Theatre Journal and Peace & Change.

Action Hero Bedatri has lived between Calcutta, Delhi and New York and is graduating from the Tisch School of the Arts, NYU in a few weeks. She has studied literature and cinema with a special interest in gender and post-colonialism, and writes regularly on popular culture and gender and has been published by Huffington Post, Travel & Leisure, among others.

Sue Jeong Ka is an interdisciplinary artist who has participated in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, the Drawing Center’s Open Sessions, the Art & Law Program at Fordham Law School, More Art & SOMA Summer. Her work has been shown at the Queens Museum, La Mama, NurtureArt, Alumnos 47, Hunter College/Times Square Gallery, and many others. One of her most recent projects, ID Shop: Round Robin, is currently on view in the exhibition, Marginalia, at the Drawing Center and is commissioned by the Laundromat Project this year. The project had been awarded grants by the Awesome Foundation, More Art, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in 2016.

Baseera Khan is a New York based artist. Her visual and written work performs patterns and repetitions of emigration and exile shaped by economic, social, and political changes throughout the world with special interests in decolonization processes. She recently exhibited her first solo exhibition at Participant Inc. Gallery called Iamuslima, New York City (2017). She will show her work next spring at Katona Museum, NY and participate in this year’s Art Pop Montreal International Music Festival. Her past exhibitions include the BRIC Biennial, Brooklyn, NY (2016) at The Weeksville Heritage Center, Subject to Capital at Abrons Art Center, New York (2016), Arrivals, Out to See, New York City (2014), TX*13 Texas Biennial 5th Anniversary Survey Group Exhibition, Texas (2014), Picturing Parallax, San Francisco State University, California (2011), Hindu Kush, and Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco (2009). She was an artist-in-residence at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Artist Residency, Skowhegan, Maine (2014). She attended an International Fellow in Israel/Palestine through Apexart, New York (2015). She was also a participating artist in Process Space LMCC (2015). Khan is currently a 2017 Artist in Residence at Abrons Art Center, NYC and part-time faculty at Parsons, The New School for Design. She received her M.F.A. at Cornell University (2012) and B.F.A from the University of North Texas (2005).

Amy Khoshbin is an Iranian-American Brooklyn-based artist merging performance, video, collage, costume and sound to examine our individual and collective compulsion to create, transform, and sometimes destroy the stories of who we are and who we think we should be. She produces media and mythologies using humor and a handmade aesthetic to throw a counterpunch at the high-definition, profit-generating codes and signals that American audiences are trained and accustomed to consuming. She has shown her solo and collaborative work at venues such as Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Mana Contemporary, NURTUREart, National Sawdust, Abrons Arts Center, The Invisible Dog Arts Center, and festivals such as River to River and South by Southwest. She is currently in residence at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace Residency 2014-17, and has completed residencies at The Watermill Center, Mana Contemporary- where she curated a group of 12 artists for the BSMT Residency, Banff Centre for the Arts, Team Effort! in Glasgow, Scotland, and at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She has received a Rema Hort Mann Artist Community Engagement Grant and is on Creative Capital’s On Our Radar for her recent project, The Myth of Layla. Khoshbin has bachelor’s degrees in Film and Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. She has collaborated with Laurie Anderson, Karen Finley, Tina Barney, and poets Anne Carson and Bob Currie among others.

Jaret Vadera (Canadian, b. 1976) is an interdisciplinary artist and cultural producer whose work interrogates and complicates the relationships between power, memory, and representations of other spaces. Vadera is a co-organizer of the ART+COMMUNITY Wikipedia edit-a-thons, which aim to add diverse practitioners and communities to the Wikipedia archive. Vadera has worked as a curator, researcher, writer, editor, educator, and designer on projects that focus on art as a catalyst for social change. He has organized a number of exhibitions, events, and collaborative experiments. Vadera’s artwork has been exhibited widely and is included in several institutional and private collections. Notable institutions where the artist’s work has been shown include; the Queens Museum, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai; A Space Gallery, Toronto; and the Maraya Art Centre, in Sharjah. Vadera currently teaches at the Yale School of Art, Pratt Institute, and Montclair State University. He lives and works between New York, Toronto, and India. He is the 2017-2018 Artist-Researcher in Residence at Project for Empty Space and is currently based in Brooklyn, New York.

Program Managers: Sarah Burney & Ambika Trasi

For additional information & press images or inquiries email:

Download the Press Release for Archival Alchemy here

About Abrons Arts Center
Abrons Arts Center is the performing and visual arts center of Henry Street Settlement, supporting the presentation of innovative, multi-disciplinary work. The Center cultivates artists in all stages of their creative development through educational programs and residencies; and serves as an intersection of cultural engagement for local, national, and international audiences and art-workers.

Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 11AM-6PM;
Sunday: 12-6PM; Exhibition Closed on Mondays.

Image credits: Top row, left to right: Priyanka Dasgupta, Where Straight Lines Fail, 2016. Installation. Courtesy of the artist; Saisha Grayson, photo by Cayla Ann Photography; Baseera Khan, Reading Room, On Purpose, Funding Courtesy of Participant Inc Gallery, Photo credit: Thomas Barratt and Mark Waldhauser. Middle row: Heather Hart; Amy Khoshbin. Bottom row: Sue Jeong Ka; Blank Noise, I Never Ask For It; Jaret Vadera.

This program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. We would like to thank Brooklyn Brewery, Endless Editions, and Brand Bean for their support.

New York State Council on the ArtsDCA