Tell Me a Story

In collaboration with the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS), SAWCC is proud to present a panel on queer South Asian art. Panelists elaborate on their practice and various narrative strategies. Whether on the dance floor or gallery walls, practitioners dismantle and re-envision imagined borders between myth and reality. Conversely, artists also turn to personal anecdotes and project beyond their immediate relevance – be it through performance or film.

Panelists: Ashu Rai, Chitra Ganesh, D’Lo and Sonali Gulati
Moderator: Gayatri Gopinath

Ashu Rai is the resident DJ and co-founder of Desilicious, NYC’s only monthly and queer South Asian dance party since March 2002. She formed Sholay Productions in 2001 with Atif Toor and Rajesh Parwatkar. Originally from Northern California, Ashu has lived in New York since 1997 and was a member of both SAWCC¹s founding board and SALGA Steering. Ashu’s visual partner, Neeraj passionately contributes to the visual art scene by reinterpreting music and narrative using rich visual inspirations from Bollywood and South Asian culture.

Chitra Ganesh’s drawing, installation, and collaborations seek to excavate and circulate buried narratives typically excluded from official canons of history, literature, and art. Ganesh earned a BA in Comparative Literature and Art Semiotics from Brown University, and an MFA from Columbia University in 2002. Ganesh’s work has been exhibited widely at venues in NYC including the Brooklyn Museum, the Queens Museum of Art, the Asia Society, Bronx Museum of Art, Exit Art, White Columns, Momenta Art, and Apex Art. International venues include the Gawngju Art Museum in Korea, Fondazione Sandretto in Italy, Nature Morte in New Dehli, ZKM in Germany, and the Royal College of Art in London. Chitra is currently an artist in residence at Smack Mellon Studios in DUMBO.

Described as a “jolt of creative and comedic energy”, D’Lo is a Tamil Sri L.A.nkan-American, political theatre artist/writer and music producer. D’Lo also performs and facilitates performance workshops extensively throughout the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Sri Lanka and India. D’Lo holds a BA from UCLA in Ethnomusicology and is a graduate of New York’s School of Audio Engineering (SAE). In 2004, D’Lo had a sold-out NYC run of D’s first play Ballin With My Bois a queer hip-hop theater piece. Currently, D’Lo is touring with Ramble-Ations: A One D’Lo Show, which received the NPN Creation Fund Grant.

Sonali Gulati is an Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Photography & Film. She has an MFA in Film & Media Arts from Temple University and a BA in Critical Social Thought from Mount Holyoke College. Gulati has made several short films that have screened at over two hundred film festivals worldwide. She has won awards and grants from foundations such as the Third Wave Foundation and the World Studio Foundation, and recently won the Theresa Pollak Award for Excellence in the Arts in Film.

Gayatri Gopinath is an Associate Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. Her work in queer studies, popular culture and the South Asian diaspora has appeared in numerous articles and anthologies, most recently in the Blackwell Companion to LGBT Studies (eds, Molly McGarry and George Haggerty, 2008). She is the author of Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures (Duke UP, 2005), and was one of the founding members of the South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association (SALGA).