In a State of Emergency? Women, War, and the Politics of Urban Survival

SAWCC’s Ninth Annual Visual Arts Show

November 30 – December 9, 2006
Opening Reception: November 30, 2006, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Mon-Fri: 5pm-8pm, Sat-Sun: noon-5pm

@ Alwan for the Arts
16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor (in the Financial District between Broadway and Broad)
New York, NY 10014

We live in increasingly violent times. Heralded by globalization, such aggression inextricably marks the urban landscape. Altered states of cartographic realities overlap onto a specifically conservative agenda, expressing itself onto women’s lives, bodies, and experiences. These landscapes also house, as a result of the recent wars, a resurgence of religious fundamentalism, and mass movements of individuals through exile and migration, which has led to a new kind of politics of violence.

The nine artists in the exhibition, Meherunnisa Asad, Vandana Sood, Carol Pereira, Kiran Chandra, Bindu Mehra, Maryum Saifee, Seher Shah, Mona Kamal, and Salma Arastu, negotiate spaces of conflict, violence, issues of identity, commodification, claustrophobia, and the politics of the body within their work. Using several mediums including photography, video, installations and animation, these women continue to resist and reshape the world on their own terms within their individual idioms while still maintaining the fragility of their bodies juxtaposed to the beautifully harsh urban realities.

This exhibition alludes to Walter Benjamin’s concept of “State of Emergency,” which can be interpreted in two ways: through the eyes of the oppressor who uses this position as a way to maintain his oppression, or what Benjamin considers as the “real state of emergency,” a struggle by the oppressed to resist the oppressor. By evoking the latter, the exhibition “State of Emergency” explores the manner in which South Asian women navigate their lives through the urban spaces and difficult social terrains.

Curated by: Derrick Adams, Arshiya Lokhandwala & Uzma Rizvi

Generously Supported by: The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council

Co-Curated and Produced By Shanti Grandhi, Samanta Batra Mehta & Yamini Nayar (SAWCC’s Visual Arts Committee 2006)