Her Stories

Fifteen Years of the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective

Saturday, August 11, 2012–Sunday, October 7, 2012
Opening Reception: Saturday, August 11, 3–6 pm

@ Queens Museum of Art
New York City Building
Flushing Meadows – Corona Park
Queens, New York 11368

In celebration of our 15th anniversary, Her Stories is a retrospective look at SAWCC’s past and present, featuring the creative works of over 100 diasporic South Asian women artists, filmmakers, musicians, dancers, and writers, with an installation of archival photographs, publications, and ephemera. The artwork selected for this exhibition prioritizes decorative and identity-based concepts in order to examine the trajectory of feminist art, from Womanhouse (1972) to Thin Black Line(s): Moments and Connections (2011), and locate its relevance in contemporary media.

This exhibition profiles established and emerging artists across the South Asian diaspora, including the US, South Africa, Canada, and the UK. Her Stories includes recurring themes such as self-portraiture, with women imagining themselves as goddesses, dead queens, cats, fathers, and cyborgs.  Employing embroidery, digital manipulation, automated techniques, and other processes, artists Chitra Ganesh, Jaishri Abichandani, Nazneen Ayyub Wood, Aisha Abid Hussain, Jayna Mistry, Mona Kamal, and Swati Khurana present emotive images of varying historic registers. Annu Matthew, Anjali Bhargava, Sabelo Narasimhan, and Mariam Ghani offer photographs of bodies coded with racial signifiers.

Also on display are Yamini Nayar‘s photographs that incorporate miniature model sets photographed by large-scale cameras; her point of departure from personal signifiers to formal concerns is apparent in the selected work. The idea of the miniature is echoed throughout the exhibition via the small scale of most of the works on display; the installation is in direct reference to South Asian art historic traditions. The transformation of traditionally segregated female spaces into self-directed feminist ones is evidenced in the works of Roya Farassat, Samira Abbassy, Sa’dia Rehman, and Nida Abidi. Their work packs a bite that is softened by more meditative, gentler works by Nandini Chirimar, Samanta Batra Mehta, Tara Sabharwal, Amber Khokhar, and Kaveri Raina.

Sculptures and installations by Vandana Jain, Indrani Ashe, Pooneh Maghazehe, Hayat Gul, Fariba Alam, Marcy Chevali, Monica Jahan Bose, and Pallavi Sharma occupy the walls, ceiling, and corners, while Ruby Chishti’s large sculpture of a cow with an oversized tap for a head envelopes the floor, leaving each surface of the room adorned with artworks and a library installation of books by female South Asian authors. Our sister collective SAWCC London is represented by musician and SAWCC London co-founder Sonia Mehta, along with Poulomi Desai, Nazneen Ayyub Wood, and Aisha Abid Husain.

Samira Abbassy, Jaishri Abichandani, Nida Abidi, Fariba Alam, Indrani Ashe, Shelly Bahl, Anjali Bhargava, Monica Jahan Bose, Marcy Chevali, Nandini Chirimar, Ruby Chishti, Poulomi Desai, Mariam Ghani, Roya Farassat, Chitra Ganesh, Hayat Gul, Aisha Abid Hussain, Vandana Jain, Mona Kamal, Jesal Kapadia, Asma Kazmi, Tara Kelton, Amber Khokhar, Sarita Khurana, Swati Khurana, Pooneh Maghazehe, Annu Mathew, Samanta Batra Mehta, Jayna Mistry, Sabelo Narasimhan, Yamini Nayar, Bhanu Palam, Shruti Parekh, Amruta Patil, Kaveri Raina, Sa’dia Rehman, Tara Sabharwal, Sadia Salim, Negin Sharifzadeh (Moss), Pallavi Sharma, Meenakshi Thirukode, Anahita Vossoughi, Nazneen Ayyub Wood.

Curated by Jaishri Abichandani
Assistant Curator: Josheen Oberoi