The Community as Studio: Symposium Biogaphies

The South Asian Women’s Creative Collective (SAWCC) is pleased to present The Community as Studio, a symposium on visual art, co-sponsored by the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU.

Please join us on November 19 for a day of discussion, workshops, participatory performances, and artist presentations.  Our keynote speaker is Prerana Reddy of the Queens Museum.

Open to the public.  Space is limited. Please register ASAP. 

More info at

  Venue: Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU                                       Location: 8 Washington Mews, New York, NY 10003                                         Date: November 19th, 11am – 6pm


Keynote Speaker – Prerana Reddy

Prerana Reddy has been the Director of Public Programs & Community Engagement for the Queens Museum since 2005.  She organizes screening, talks, festivals, visual art exhibitions, artist residencies and performances, many of which are developed in collaboration with diverse local community organizations and cultural producers.  She is also in charge of the museum’s community engagement initiatives that combine arts and culture with social development goals in nearby neighborhoods predominantly comprised of new immigrants such as museum’s offsite immigrant arts & education center Immigrant Movement International, and the design and ongoing programming of Corona Plaza. Reddy holds an MA in Cinema Studies, with a focus on documentary and visual anthropology, from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.


Panel Discussion


Yasmin Jahan Nupur was born in Bangladesh in 1979. Yasmin completed an MFA with distinction at the Fine Arts (Painting) University of Chittagong in 2004. Yasmin is working as a Visual Artist and also Member of Britto Arts Trust, Bangladesh.

Yasmin participated in 11th edition of Asia Contemporary Art Week (ACAW) on November 2016. Currently she is doing Performance, Installation and Video installation. Her recent performance works are “Another crazy thing I can do; dance,” at Dhaka art Summit 2016, Yanhay Dance Performance duration: 7 days, each day 1 hour 30 min, 2016. In 2014, Yasmin strapped herself on a chair suspended from a column at Dhaka’s Shilpakala Academy. For three hours, she sat on a Chair, testing her body as material and the site as a vessel for it. Dressed in white, camouflaging with the column, Yasmin’s action invited a consideration of her performance in relation to the space in which it unfolded. A light current of air was enough to set it moving, suggesting the strength of the butterfly effect, in which something insignificant can upset a delicate balance very quickly, and resulting in tsunamis or armed conflicts that spiral out of control… Yasmin created an installation for the 2013 Venice Biennale,” Crossing the Border, Being Together.” Born in Bangladesh, she is particularly sensitive to the drawing of borders and remembers when India, Pakistan and Bangladesh were but one vast territory occupied by a single population, which today is far from living together in peace.



Indrani Nayar-Gall, Indian by birth, is a multidisciplinary artist-activist expanding her artistic vocabulary and practice to include film. Nayar-Gall is a full-time, practicing professional artist. She lives and works in Charlotte, NC. Her work examines social justice and her present work speaks of the growing social impetus aimed at overcoming all social/religious barriers to equality and empowerment.

Indrani earned her MFA majoring in experimental printmaking from Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharati University; a diploma in teaching from University of the West Indies (UWI) and an advanced graduate certificate in contemporary non-toxic printmaking from Rochester Institute of Technology. Indrani was the area coordinator of printmaking of the BFA program at Barbados Community College. She taught as a part-time instructor at Western Michigan University and UNC Charlotte.

Indrani’s upcoming and recent important collective shows include, 2017 – Union Gallery, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, Milwaukee, 2016 Lindsay Dirkx Brown Gallery 2015 Ornate Activate, Shirin Gallery; 5th Anniversary Exhibition Brentwood Arts Exchange Gateway Arts Center; Erasing Borders 2015 Indo-American Arts Council; 2014 “Caribbean: Crossroads of the World”, Pérez Art Museum; New Prints 2014/Summer, International Print Center New York, Christie’s Midtown, Central Booking, The Gallery – Green Hill Center for NC Art. Her solo exhibitions include Elizabeth Dunlap Patrick Gallery, Winthrop University Galleries; Cleveland Community College; Rowe Arts Galleries, College of Arts + Architecture, UNCC; Levine Museum of the New South: Museum in Charlotte, West Gallery, Elon University, ECA Gallery India, Cleveland State University.



Priyanka Dasgupta’s installations include photography, video, sound and sculpture, trespassing boundaries between digital and traditional media. She has an MA in Studio Art from NYU & ICP, New York (2003), and a BA in English Literature from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi (2000). Dasgupta has participated in residencies including Transparent Studio at Bose Pacia (2012), Aljira Emerge (2007) and the AIM Program (2005), in New York. Her work has been exhibited at the Changjiang Museum of Contemporary Art in China (2015), Shirin Gallery (2015) and the Queens Museum (2014) in New York, Galleria di Piazza San Marco (2012) in Italy, the British Film Institute (2010) in London and the Lalit Kala Akademi (2010) in New Delhi. Dasgupta has given artist talks at Montclair University, the Indo American Arts Council and the Asian American Arts Council. Reviews of her work have been included in the New York Times, Times of India, Take on Art and Art India.

Dasgupta is currently involved in a collaboration with Chad Marshall, developing work that confronts the historical notion of “passing,” through tracing the history of Bengali sailors who married into Black and Latino communities to escape the harsh laws against asians in the US in the 19th and early 20th century. She is represented by Shrine Empire Gallery in New Delhi, India, and lives in New York, where she is enrolled in the DIAP MFA at City College. Dasgupta also teaches contemporary art, and art education at New York University and City College.



Lakshmi Padmanabhan is a doctoral candidate in the department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, and her research lies at the intersections of postcolonial theory, performance studies, and feminism. Her dissertation “Ethical Insubordination: Feminist performance and decolonial aesthetics” addresses contemporary visual art and performances of civil disobedience by women of color artists and activists from south Asia and the diaspora.




Purvi Shah: Panel Moderator

Known for her sparkly eyeshadow and raucous laughter, Purvi Shah inspires change as a social justice advocate and writer. She is curious about language and art as dreamwork for love, transformation, and justice. She won the inaugural SONY South Asian Social Service Excellence Award for her leadership fighting violence against women. During the 10th anniversary of 9/11, she directed Together We Are New York, a community-based multimedia poetry project to highlight Asian American voices and experiences. Her new chaplet, Dark Lip of the Beloved: Sound Your Fiery God-Praise (Belladonna*: 2015), explores women’s devotions, status, and being. In Terrain Tracks (New Rivers Press: 2006), she plumbs migrations and belongings. Her first play, Light as a Mountain, had a staged reading in 2016 through INKTank, a playwrights residency by Rising Circle Theater Collective. She has collaborated with visual artists, including recent work with artist Anjali Deshmukh. She also drums with Batala New York, an all-woman band playing Afro-Brazilian samba reggae music. In addition to being a 2016-17 LMCC Workspace Resident, she currently serves as a contributing editor to Aster(ix) and a board member of The Poetry Project. Discover more @PurviPoets or


Learn to Swim Lessons Session 1


Sa’dia Rehman works in the realm of performance, video, and installation. Many of her childhood memories are centered around her family’s twenty-seven-inch Sony Trinitron television, which was cornered in a living room with orange walls and orange carpet in Queens, New York. Watching TV exercised her ability to subconsciously process images that were significantly different from one to the next. Among steamy soap operas, science-fiction cartoons, and slapstick sitcoms, she also watched campy Bollywood movies and instructive Islamic sermons. This early exposure to disparate moving images informs the way she puts images together.

Rehman has shared her work at Twelve Gates (2016), Center for Book Arts (2015), Local Projects (2014), Queens Museum (2012), Brooklyn Museum (2010), and Grey Noise (2008). This past summer, Rehman received the Hamilton Travel Award and OSU Materials Grant to participate in Rasquache Residency in Puebla, Mexico. She was selected to participate in LMCC’s Artists Summer Institute (2011), AIM Bronx Museum (2008) and a residency at the National Gallery of Art, Islamabad, Pakistan (2006). Her work has been featured in publications such as ColorLines Magazine, The NY Times, Harper’s Magazine and Art Papers. She will be exhibiting her work at Urban Art Space and ROY G BIV Gallery in 2017. She is currently pursuing her MFA at Ohio State University (2017).


Indian Women Farmers Series


As a multimedia artist/journalist, Sarah K Khan focuses on the migration of people (mainly women) and food. Sarah makes visible their often invisible lives via photography, cartography, film and writing. She partners with like-minded organizations and individuals to utilize food to provoke thought about food sovereignty. Women tend to be the carriers of vital cultural knowledge, such as foodways and healing. Food, as a metaphor for culture, is not only about shared connections to family and community, but also about universal multisensory experiences of cultural survival. Sarah left academia to devote herself to a trans-media art practice, to produce work across disciplines and reach larger audiences. Her self-driven arts training for the last twelve years includes: drawing in Mughal and Persian miniature techniques under Bashir Ahmed, Pakistan; paper- and bookmaking at Haystack Mountain School of Art, Maine; and with Mary Hark, Madison WI; printmaking intensives with Amos Paul Kennedy Jr., Gordo AL; photography mentoring from Faisal Abdu’Allah, Madison WI; collaborations with Meeta Mastani on handmade paper, block prints and textiles, Rajasthan India; and creating, most recently, a series of short animated documentary films on Indian women farmers.



Jasmine Wahi began her art world endeavors in the South Asian art department at Christie’s Auction House, which was followed by positions in several contemporary Asian art galleries around New York City. In 2008, Ms. Wahi opened up her own consultancy, which produced exhibitions and cultivated emerging artists from around the globe.  Since then, Jasmine Wahi has expanded her curatorial ventures to include a multitude of non-profit endeavors and socially engaging exhibitions. In 2010, Ms. Wahi Co-Founded Project For Empty Space (, an organization that creates socially engaging, multidisciplinary art exhibitions and programming that encourage social dialogue, education, and systemic change for cultural tolerance. In 2013, Ms. Wahi and PES began a long-term partnership with Rebecca Jampol of Solo(s) Project House, to create a series of pop-up exhibitions under the moniker ‘Gateway Project Spaces’ which then became Gateway Projects.  She also served for many years on the board of SAWCC.


Finding and Drawing your Personal Story: An Experiential Workshop


Benaifer Bhadha is a storyteller, leadership coach and experience guide.  Her life’s work is to create safe spaces where people can share their personal experience and grow through the power of voice and non-judgmental listening. Through her work with major foundations, socially conscious companies, NGOs and educational institutions, she has fostered the storytelling of marginalized groups locally, in India, Eastern Europe, and Africa. She is the co-creator of “Two Women Talking”, a personal storytelling performance that explores gender, identity, violence and tradition, and co-director of Yoni Ki Raat 2017. Benaifer grew up between the sea-face of Bombay and the cliff sides of England. She is also one of ~190,000 Zoroastrians in the world and is pretty proud of it.




Shubha Bala is a queer Indo-Canadian-New Yorker, who enjoys complaining when it’s hot and when it’s cold. An engineer and international development worker by training, she now works in criminal justice reform. She is the founder of Kalyani Magazine and has had prose, poetry and visual art published in Off the Coast, A Common Thread and others. She has also performed in the Vagina Monologues, Yoni Ki Raat, and other spaces. She is proud to be co-directing Yoni Ki Raat in 2017. She is a VONA graphic novel alum and has been experimenting with visual art both within sequential stories, and as stand-alone pieces. Her biggest, yet most elusive desire is to be seen – an ongoing quest that currently finds her living in Brooklyn with a white man (who doesn’t define her) and a black cat (who probably defines her).


Dance in the Round



Choreographer Parijat Desai creates hybrids of contemporary and Indian classical dance, theater, and other movement forms yielding a “seamless blending of the new and old” (NYT). An autodidact in Indian classical music, Parijat has collaborated with various musicians to create new compositions based on the classical tradition, including several leaders of the Brooklyn Raga Massive movement. Parijat also interfaces with architecture and public space to explore human/social issues through the performing body. As a 2016–17 Movement Research Artist-in- Residence, she is developing “JustLikeThat,” a dance theatre work using movement, banter, live music, and whole lot of newspaper to poke fun of language in Indian news articles. Also in development: Signs of the Times, a series of short dances to jazz and R&B songs—to be performed in December with Broadway actress/singer Cicily Daniels. In 2015, Parijat choreographed Passage, performed live at a Le Corbusier–designed building in Ahmedabad, India, as part of the Fanatika International Theater Laboratory Festival. With a 2013–14 Fulbright-Nehru Grant to India, Parijat researched Indo-Islamic architectural sites toward the creation of the film The Palace Is Dreaming (in post-production), edited by Alla Kovgan. In 2012–13, she developed a participatory protest score “Freedom. Safety. NOW.” with visual artist and SAWCC founder Jaishri Abichandani.

Parijat was an artist-in- residence at Dance Center of Columbia College (2013), Tribeca Performing Arts Center (2010–2013), and Stanford University’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts (2009). In Winter 2017, she will be a guest artist at Colorado College.