South Asian Womxn’s Creative Collective (SAWCC) is thrilled to present Social Memory: Sites of Remembrance at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts‘ Blackburn 20|20 Gallery, curated by Shilpi Chandra. The exhibition brings together 15 artists working across diverse media presenting works that reflect upon the idea of social memory and how the possession of individual memory coincides with the collective memory of a group.
For over 25 years, SAWCC has allowed South Asian femmes to tell their own stories; this community has been a site for cultural memory to flourish and a site for identity negotiation within the larger hegemonic forces of Western society. The inter-generational group of artists in this exhibition reformulate new modes of collectivity and investigate the role of memory, identity, and belonging in their works.
March 16 – April 15, 2023
Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts
Blackburn 20|20 Gallery
323 West 39th Street
New York, NY 10018
Open Wed – Sun, 12 – 7 pm
Thu, March 16, 6 – 9 pm
Memory belongs equally to the present and to the past, to the individual and to a group. How then do individual-level processes interact with collective ones, and vice versa? How does a group share, convey, and sustain memories? In the same way that individual memory shapes a person’s awareness of themselves in the present—their role within the family, workplaces, or institutions—social memory is the connective structure of groups, creating a collective consciousness of ideas and a sense of belonging. Social memory transmits the consciousness of the past to help individuals localize their memories, influence their ideas, and shape their identities. While acknowledging that sites of remembrance can often be a place of contestation, artists are uniquely positioned to reformulate meaning, to open up new manners of collectivity, and to create opportunities for sharing and passing on knowledge.
Social Memory: Sites of Remembrance reflects the concerns on artists’ minds today—from a reclamation of forgotten female South Asian histories and a continued interest in overturning the patriarchy, to a blurring of the distinction between “craft” and “fine art” and new modes of femme South Asian representation. The artists in this exhibition consciously explore the connection between social identity, collective knowledge, and historical memory; the past and present intertwine to point to a future that is open to a wider range of interpretations and expressions.
About the Curator:
Shilpi Chandra is an art historian and curator with a focus on contemporary art of South Asia and its diaspora. Her curatorial practice is rooted in making art freely accessible to lay audiences by creating exhibitions that bring people into public and community spaces. After receiving her MA in Contemporary Art from SUNY-Purchase College, she worked in the curatorial department at the Katonah Museum of Art on thematic exhibitions ranging from self-taught artists to mid-century modern architecture. At the Pelham Art Center, a community based arts organization, Shilpi was responsible for managing the exhibitions program. Shilpi also has an MBA from Columbia Business School and worked in healthcare marketing for several years. She regularly teaches adult education classes on Chinese and Indian Art History and Contemporary Asian Art.