Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Art’ Category

Now For Something Completely Different

Austin, Texas is full of working musicians, people who may not be nationally known but who spend their lives making and performing great music. Seela is one such musician. This past spring she released her first solo record in many years. It is called Valentine.

seela cover

The woman on the

webcams in pittsburg pasafe dating definitionfree live webcame sexvisit website

cover is her mother, who died in 2006. There is a heartbreaking song about the grief of losing her on the record. Altogether there are nine songs that highlight Seela’s range and versatility and showcase her honey rich voice. Some have more of an exuberant pop or R&B feel, and some make you slow down and dwell for a moment in a place — of loneliness, longing, or love. My favorite is a song called, “Sweetly,” with a haunting and romantic narrative arc. These are songs to sing along to, but for me, it’s also a writer’s album. Every song could inspire a short story.

You can check out Seela’s songs and download or buy her album at

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/seela1

Sacred Heart

“Texta” is Australian for felt-tip marker and TextaQueen is Australia’s felt-tip superhero.

Renowned for use of the humble felt-tip marker to boldly re-interpret the tradition of the salon nude, TextaQueen explores politics of sex, gender, race, and identity in tangent with ideas of self-image and interpersonal relationships. Texta’s practice articulates delicate interplays between vulnerability and empowerment, intimacy and exhibitionism, and subjective and collective expressions of feminist, queer, and cultural identities.

Sacred Heart

Sub-Cultural Charms

Reclaiming the gothic appropriation of the Indian nose chain while claiming my latent gothic identity, each of the charms represents my cultural influences. A baby’s rattle saying “It’s a Girl,” imposing binary gender from birth. The wedding cake normalizing heterosexuality, monogamy, and marriage. An ABC building block of growing up learning only the colonial language of English. The dollar sign of capitalism. The rosary beads and crucifix of Catholicism, which is often used in gothic nose chains also. The map of India cut out of the map of Australia representing cultural identity, seen both as racial over locational and my dual identity as (non-Indigenous) Australian and Indian. And a family portrait, invisibly embodying many of these influences.

Gandhi Returns

Possibly the most globally famous Indian cultural icon, Mahatma Gandhi was important to the movement for Indian independence from the British through non-violent resistance, yet Gandhi expressed anti-black racism in South Africa and misogynistic sexual behavior towards young women. Here, returned from the dead as a salivating zombie, Gandhi is a literally imperfect figure. I’m questioning our idolization of leaders into one-dimensional icons, how we erase their complexities and ignore their humanity, and the dangers of fixating on hierarchies of leadership. As a self-portrait, I’m contemplating my own imperfections.

Family Tree


Who am I from?
How do I connect to my ancestors?
An elephant never forgets
But when my research tool is Google
Searching: Goa India
It’s “a top vacation destination”
White hippies drumming at sunset to find themselves
Private beach resorts with white chairs along the sand
Each click brought to my screen via the flashy lenses of
Those finding or selling “exotic escape” or “affordable luxury”
Reminders of my heritage
As changed and stolen by colonizers and capitalism

But my body remembers who I am from
My body holds connections
Naked, I arm/trunk wrestle with the long memoried elephant
My ancestors shimmied up coconut palms
And now they float down around me in coconut water
As supermarket chocolate jelly babies called “Chicos”
A rare visible brown consumable of my childhood
I delighted to eat myself while others were eating my otherness

But my body remembers where I am from
My body holds connections
Naked, I wrestle, my arm with the trunk of the long memoried elephant
Both an embrace and a struggle, to connect
My ancestors shimmied up coconut palms to collect their fruit
And now I see them falling down from the coconut palm,
floating around me in coconut water
I see them as chocolate caramel gummy babies
labeled in Australian supermarkets as “Chicos”
A rare visible brown consumable of my childhood
I delighted to eat myself while others ate my otherness
Now I hold my belly over my womb
Pondering the continuation of my bloodline
What I carry and what I may pass on.


TextaQueen has exhibited widely and wildly at white-walled galleries with acronyms such as MCA, PICA, AGNSW, GSCAS, ACMI, and GOMA, and internationally in Belgium, Amsterdam, and Montreal. TextaQueen’s work is held in the collections of Art Gallery of Western Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, National Portrait Gallery of Australia, University of Queensland, Mornington Peninsular Regional Gallery, Monash University of Modern Art, Cruthers Collection of Womens Art, Art Gallery of Ballarat, Artbank, and private collections in Australia, the United Kingdom and North America. http://textaqueen.com

All images © TextaQueen


Delhi Through the Night

The accompanying photographs can form a part of a narrative or stand alone as moments that occur in the city of Delhi through the night. These pictures are reflections on not only the obsession with the old and chaotic parts of the city, but also on the gaze of a middle-class, academically-oriented woman from a relatively small town, who feels more comfortable and safe behind a camera as she walks anonymous through the wide and narrow, intimidating and yet liberating streets of the capital city of Delhi.

walk through the night

walk through the night

on the other side

on the other side

pishaach (demon)

pishaach (demon)

cursed

cursed

languages

languages

of other spaces

of other spaces

dhaatu (element)

dhaatu (element)


Neha Chaturvedi is currently working on her dissertation. A constantly distracted person incapable of focus both literally and figuratively, prone to spells of hyperactivity conjunct with long phases of laziness, her only companion through long and sometimes anxious walks through the city is her camera. On other occasions, she likes to paint, write, act, or simply linger over nothings.

All Images © Neha Chaturvedi


Freedom Color

Photography is not my main medium of expression. Writing is. Yet, I have found that it is through photographs that I can express what I am unable to find words for. In photography, I try to capture the randomness in the mundane, the unexpected in the predictable, the carpe vitam in the commonplace. Some of my clicks have a voyeuristic quality since I have found that as a woman of color, there are certain lines one cannot cross. I trespass those lines anyway, but from a distance.

These photos were taken in Kolkata, India in 2012, in the month of the Hindu Festival of Colors (also known as Holi). I have tried to capture moments where the “play” that arises from the festival allows for a freedom of transgression between caste, class, and gender lines in India.

Freedom Color

Freedom Colour

Synesthesia

Synesthesia

Touch 2

Touch 2

Conversation

Conversation

Touch

Touch

Rhapsody

Rhapsody


Sanchari Sur is a Bengali Canadian who was born in Calcutta, India. A graduate student of gender studies at Queen’s University, Kingston, she is currently working on her first novel tentatively titled Blood Red Sky. Her short fiction, photography and poetry have been published or are forthcoming in Pyrta, nthposition, Barely South Review, Map Literary, Diverse Voices Quarterly and elsewhere. In early 2012, her short story “Those Sri Lankan Boys” was selected for the Diaspora Dialogues Youth Mentorship Program in Toronto. http://sursanchari.wordpress.com

All images © Sanchari Sur


 

Indo-Caribbean

These pictures are part of Indiaworld, my forthcoming photography book about the global Indian diaspora. Indians have lived in the Caribbean since the mid-1800s, brought by the British as indentured laborers to work in sugar and rice plantations in Trinidad, Guyana, Jamaica, and other colonies. Most migrants came from the modern states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, with smaller numbers coming from Tamil Nadu. Indo-Caribbeans maintain unique traditions, often with roots in rural India, especially among Hindus, such as the puja ceremony around a prayer flag called a jhandi and the celebration of Phagwah, the Bhojpuri word for Holi. Many Indo-Caribbeans have further migrated to New York, Toronto, and London. Guyana has been one of the largest contributors to New York’s immigrant community since the early 1990s. The Richmond Hill neighborhood in Queens is called Little Guyana and is the center of the Indo-Caribbean community in New York.

Easter kite flying along the seawall. Georgetown, Guyana

Easter kite flying along the seawall. Georgetown, Guyana

 

3_IndoCaribbean_Merchant

Mungal Patasar and his band Pantar, which combines his sitar with steel plan and other instruments. Chaguanas, Trinidad

 

Phagwah (Holi) parade. Richmond Hill, New York

Phagwah (Holi) parade. Richmond Hill, New York

 

5_IndoCaribbean_Merchant

Radhika Drebaul and her brother Dennis Jaikaran perform a jhandi ceremony, the dedication of Hindu prayer flags in the Indo-Guyanese tradition, on the anniversary of their mother’s death. Ozone Park, New York

 

Ashely watches while her grandfather kills a duck. Hague, Guyana

Ashely watches while her grandfather kills a duck. Hague, Guyana


Preston Merchant lives in the Bay Area, California. He teaches photography as an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York. A selection of his images is featured in an exhibit by the Smithsonian Institute’s Indian American Heritage Project, opening in the winter of 2014, called “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation.” http://prestonmerchant.com

All images © Preston Merchant