Encounters: 2021 SAWCC Visual Art Exhibition

Photo courtesy of Labkhand Olfatmanesh and Gazelle Samizay

The South Asian Womxn’s Creative Collective presents


April 1–May 15, 2021
at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (JCAL)

Curated by Grace Aneiza Ali

In a year defined by great turmoil and deep sorrow, when all forms of symbolic and actual distance, division, and isolation overwhelmed our daily lives and our world, how did we make space for meaningful creativity, connection, and collaboration? 
Encounters features fourteen women from the South Asian diaspora who came together across geographical, cultural, political, and religious boundaries. Working as “artist pairs” and grounded in an ethos of friendship, creative partnership, and community-building, their artworks illuminate shared bonds and histories, reveal personal and political narratives that may have been otherwise unknown or invisible, signal an economy of care, and envision a equitable future in which women thrive. 

In their collaborations, the artists draw on many South Asian traditions of craft such as bandhani dyeing techniques, mehndi, weaving, embroidery, as well as mediums of video, painting, sculpture, installation, photography, and choreography. Underscoring these artistic encounters are works that elevate the voices of generations of women across South Asian communities and address a range of pressing issues weighing on their hearts and minds: displacement and migration, the impact of ongoing traumas of war and gender violence. Whether they co-created these works digitally, or over many Zoom sessions, or through several back-and-forth travels through the mail, the artists featured in Encounters forged through distance, separation, and time zones in what they deemed “a radical act of dreaming together.”

Featuring works by:
Rashida Abuwala & Maya Mackrandilal
Anjali Deshmukh & Purvi Shah
Renluka Maharaj & Seema Shakti 
Shreya Mehta & Barkha Patel
Labkhand Olfatmanesh & Gazelle Samizay
Ramya Ravisankar & Marcy Chevali
Sania Samad & Sadia Pasha Kamran

Encounters will be on view online and by appointment at JCAL’s Miller Gallery (161-04 Jamaica Ave). Gallery hours are M-F 10am-6pm and select Saturdays 12-3pm. Click here to schedule a time to view the exhibition in-person. 

View an online gallery of the works in the exhibition and learn more about the artists here.

Public Programs:
April 10: Conversation with Artist Pairs and Curator
April 17: Meet the artists—Marcy Chevali & Seema Shakti
April 24: Meet the artists—Anjali Deshmukh & Purvi Shah
May 1: Inner-Act: Collage-Making Workshop
May 8: Art x Dance = Dialogue Between Art Disciplines

The Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL), founded in 1972, is a multidisciplinary arts center based in the diverse community of Southeast Queens. It devoted its mission to offer quality visual, performing, and literary arts, and to provide accessible education programs to encourage participation in the arts.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. This program is additionally part of JCAL’s two-year pilot project, Building Equity for BIIPOC (Black, Immigrant, Indigenous, People of Color) Artists, funded by the New York Community Trust.