8:00 PM20:00

The Meaning of Color

Color is not only part of the orientalist fantasy of the diaspora, but in the past has been its literal export and is now a symbol of “polarizing feelings and thoughts” within the South Asian community. The multiplicity of meanings within the concept of “color” resonates in the language of saffronisation, of ongoing colorism within the diaspora, in blanket groupings of “people of color,” in the history of colonization that brought India’s indigo to the world, in the “green” tours of Sri Lanka and in the bluest Lapis Lazuli that grew in Afghanistan.

How do we relate to color in our artwork? Do these symbols and techniques feel culturally rooted? What kind of memories do we have of color? Artists who work with color (or meaningfully work without it) and would like to workshop their art (any medium) are encouraged to join the workshop.

Facilitated by Monica Mohapatra and Amanda Goonetillekeas part of Happy Family Night Market 2019.

Workshop + Presentation

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4:00 PM16:00

Family Games, Family Ties

** Due to the inclement weather coming up this weekend, we are postponing the workshop :( See you on Sat Feb 16! **

How can family games connect us across generations and language barriers?

Games and family activities in our South Asian family gatherings serve many roles within our past and present. First and foremost, they preserve bonds and foster new ones between generations, erasing age and language barriers along the way. They are also a vehicle to pass on traditions, and preserve arts and knowledge in entertaining ways. Finally, through a little vulnerability and a lot of laughter, they even help us know ourselves better.

Event Page

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1:00 PM13:00

Realities of Marginalized South Asian Diasporic Voices in the Side Hustle

'Realities of Marginalized South Asian Diasporic Voices in the Side Hustle' is a panel discussion taking place at the SLASHIE // SUMMIT — presented by Brown Girl Magazine, Inc., in collaboration with Dallas [Intuitive], and in partnership with Dil Mil and GIPHY. In the aim of making our side hustle our primary source of income, this panel will discuss the financial barriers that impact South Asian artists striving to make a living from their artistic pursuits. The panel includes Farhat Rahman, Saleem Gondal, Navpreet Singh, Sarish Khan, Nida Chowdhury, Priya Arora and is moderated by Priya Desai.

SADAC participated in this panel at the SLASHIE // SUMMIT, an all-day experience that empowers individuals with access to influential South Asian networks, essential tools and critical knowledge they need to challenge the stigma behind creative aspirations and career paths.

Catch the livestream here!

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4:00 PM16:00

Workshop: Decolonial South Asian Textiles

Textile history in South Asia uncovers much more than just the examination of unique beautiful crafts, cloths and identities. It is as bound up with the political, social and cultural geographies that relate to workers revolts, active resistance and anti colonial movements. It is also a history that has been affected by borders, ruling states and international relations of labour and production, spanning centuries, and is still felt in today's world. Artist Raisa Kabir, will run a short historical tour of some of these moments that are tied within European colonial history of empire and provide an anti colonial commentary that connects the implications of labour and exploitation that has been embedded in the global history of south Asian textile production. From natural fibers, materials, and dyes, to regional craft techniques and their historic connections to global trade and their markets.

Please bring a treasured textile to the workshop with you, to bring to the discussion.

The workshop will be led by visiting interdisciplinary Bangladeshi artist, Raisa Kabir, who utilises woven text/textiles, sound, video and performance to translate and visualise concepts concerning the politics of cloth, labour and geography. She addresses cultural anxieties surrounding nationhood and borders; examining the encoded violence in histories of labour in globalised neo-colonial textile production. Her (un)weaving performances comment on power, production and the body as a living archive of collective trauma. She has exhibited work at The Whitworth, The Tetley, Raven Row, Textile Arts Center NYC, and The Center of Craft Creativity and Design NC.

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7:30 PM19:30

AUNTIFA: SADAC and Final Fantasy Reading Series

A night of readings, music and video from South Asian artists!


Statement after the Event:

Thank you to everyone that came to our event with the Final Fantasy reading series on Tuesday evening, and to all of the invited readers and performers.

As a group we are conscious that there was some unhappiness during the AUNTIFA event regarding content, language and a lack of dialogue with the audience. We would like to address those issues and any outstanding feelings of discomfort. It is our responsibility to tackle antiblackness and other oppressive mindsets in our thinking and actions as a South Asian group and we are open to a dialogue which acknowledges our mistakes. We also affirm and understand that there has been discomfort due to the content of performances and readings - we will open this discussion to our community (including those who performed) and attempt to deepen our collective understanding of racist or harmful behaviors. This is a learning opportunity and we apologize to any audience members who were not heard in the moment. We are glad for the feedback we received and are actively in discussion and will come back to the community with the results of our work on these issues.

Anyone who has more feedback or comments to share, please feel free to reach out to us at

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“My Home, Mi Casa, Mera Ghar, Amar Bari” by Masoom Moitra and Schools of Hope NYC at the Chhaya CDC Chapati Mela
12:00 PM12:00

“My Home, Mi Casa, Mera Ghar, Amar Bari” by Masoom Moitra and Schools of Hope NYC at the Chhaya CDC Chapati Mela

In the midst of the impact gentrification and displacement has on immigrant communities and communities of color in Jackson Heights, "My Home, Mi Casa, Mera Ghar, Amar Bari” was a bookmaking workshop which invited members of the Jackson Heights community to tell their stories. Led by artist Masoom Moitra during the 2018 Chatpati Mela hosted by Chhaya CDC, the workshop offered participating artists materials to tell three chapters about “home": where was home before, where is home now, and what will happen in the future?

Schools of Hope is a project that was founded by Masoom Moitra in 2015. Schools of Hope/ Escuelas de Esperanza/ Aasha ki Kaksha/ Aasha’er School are autonomous, mobile think tanks that are founded upon the rich and layered reproductive knowledge of caregivers, mothers, grandmothers, aunts and community stewards. These “schools/ non-schools” propose a shift in perspective of what constitutes “expertise” and knowledge”. A process involving the creative and collective examination of questions around who gets to make decisions and propose solutions for the betterment of societies, economies and ecologies leads into a set of artistic and socially-engaged methods to critically examine the agenda of “experts” and flip the narrative that determines, funds and reinforces selective sources for the production of knowledge. #schoolsofhopenyc (You can follow us at instagram on @schoolsofhopenyc)

Lead Facilitator: Masoom Moitra is an urban planner-designer, educator, scholar-activist and artist from Mumbai, and based in New York. She teaches undergraduate and graduate studios at the Integrated Design(BFA) and Transdisciplinary Design(MFA) programs at Parsons, The New School, and serves as the Director of Community Design & Strategy at The New School Collaboratory – a university-based platform for civic engagement & knowledge co-production. As an independent community planning consultant, she is currently working with El-Puente (a 36-year old human rights, community education and social justice organization based in Brooklyn) on designing self-determination, equity and justice focussed plans and strategies in the rapidly gentrifying areas of South Williamsburg and Bushwick.

For more details:

Supporting Facilitator: Umesh Mangipudi. I am a multimedia and visual artist originally from India, currently based in Brooklyn. Through my practice, I explore creative ways of engagement with cities and ecologies, focusing on issues like identity, displacement and access to space. Inspired by nature and people, and leveraging the dialectics of planned vs unplanned, finished vs unfinished and thought vs action, I try to create an environment of "controlled spontaneity" to facilitate dialogue across layers of characters, colors or moods. I am a trained Indian classical musician and currently exploring and engaging with "forgotten" spaces for dissemination of this music form.


Supporting Facilitator: Saleem Gondal


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No (Gender) Partition: An Expansive Community Iftar
7:00 PM19:00

No (Gender) Partition: An Expansive Community Iftar

An intentional queer and trans friendly space for Iftar during Ramadan 2018.

Event description:

SADAC warmly invites you to join us for iftar, the breaking of the fast! We particularly welcome POC of Muslim or non-Muslim experience.


7:30 Doors open

8:20 Sunni iftar / 8:36 Shia iftar

8:40 Gender mixed prayer

8:40 Dinner & social!


-This is a gender expansive and extremely queer and trans friendly space.

-Format is Potluck + BYOB (we'll make a couple dishes)

-Access: Space is on the ground floor of an apartment building; bldg entrance is street level, and there are two small steps at the apartment's front door

Expansive Banner.jpg
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4:00 PM16:00

Mudras and Medicine: Dance for Justice in Healthcare

Jenn Pamela Chowdhury and Shilpa Darivemula of the The Aseemkala Initiative speak on the relationship between traditional dance practices and transforming healthcare.


Jenn Pamela Chowdhury: With deep roots in Bangladesh and Brooklyn, Jenn is a writer and storyteller who believes in the power of words in bringing communities together. In spring 2017, she joined the cast of Yoni ki Raat - a New York City-based community production where South Asian/Indo Caribbean cis, trans and gender nonconforming artists share powerful and authentic stories that are often silenced and ignored. She wrote and performed "Breathe," a monologue about mental health, at Dixon Place Theater. Her idea of joy involves trees, her loved ones, her camera and her bright red raincoat.

Shilpa Darivemula: Shilpa is a fourth year medical student at Albany Medical College. She is the founder and co-director of The Aseemkala Initiative, a traditional dance collaborative using the arts to explore human rights for women in medicine. She served as 2017 AMWA Artist-in-Residence, presenting her dances at the International Human Rights and Art Festival, Toledances Festival in Fez in Morocco, ArtWallah LA, and the Southern Vermont Dance. Her work has been presented at the North American Refugee Conference and the International Papilloma Conference. Shilpa currently serves as the head of Global Initiative Against HPV and Cervical Cancer’s Artistic Committee, student leader in Studio AMWA, and director of research at Alianza Arkana. She plans to continue this work as an OB/GYN resident at Dartmouth this year.

Resource Shares:


Other articles that talk about the connection between art and healing include:

Affecting Anxiety Levels

African Dance Healing.pdf

Kazhakstan Traditional Medicine.pdf

Traditional Ghanaian Dance

Links on the Devadasis (very very limited—definitely needs more articles presenting the full picture/history)


Links to programs working on using dance to heal:

Kolkata Sanved:

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4:00 PM16:00

Indo-Carribean Identity


-What would Indo-Caribbean unification with South Asians look like? What would it take?

-Erasure of Indo-Caribbean Diaspora and other Indo-Diasporas

-How “assemblage” affects Indo-Caribbean art? (Assemblage is different from identity in that it understands personhood as an amalgamation of experiences that are fluid and constantly in motion, rather than static like identity suggests)


Links of Indo-Carribean artists:


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4:00 PM16:00

Caste, Art and the Diaspora

Presentation: Highlighting art by Dalit, Adivasi and Bahujan artists and how savarna artists may overlook the oppressive history of caste in the work.

Workshop was held at Asian American Writer's Workshop. The discussion was led by Maari Zwick-Maitreyi, the Research Director at Equality Labs

MAARI ZWICK-MAITREYI is a South Asian Dalit diasporic activist, scientist, and community technology organizer. She believes in the power of oppressed peoples to tell their story with autonomy. As a scientist, her deeply held beliefs speak to the potential for science to transform and build community resistance against the ruling classes. She works to create participatory knowledge projects in Equality Labs that center community knowledge production to counter white and Savarna supremacist modes of learning and knowledge building.


Dalit: Those born into a caste outside of the four varnas (formerly known as "untouchables"). Means "broken but resilient". 

Adivasi: Indigenous people of South Asia

Savarna: Those born into one of the four varnas (Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra)  

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4:00 PM16:00

Homage v Appropriation

How might South Asians, both in the homeland and diaspora, cultivate artistic practices that build solidarity across communities within and outside South Asia? As multicultural hybrids ourselves, how do we pay homage to diverse artistic and cultural forms that inspire us but may not necessarily be our own? How do we create art that appreciates rather than appropriates across caste, class, gender, ethnicity, language, region, and race?


Musical References discussed: 

TM Krisha — Poramboke

Jaubi — J Dilla inspired album

DJ Rekha —Basement Bhangra


Additional Reading: Fatimah Asghar (the writer of the hit web series Brown Girls (which will be on HBO soon!)) — Can People of Color Culturally Appropriate? 




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4:00 PM16:00

By Us, For Us

What does it mean to make art "by us, for us?” Who is "US"? 

The workshop will center on what collaboration between SA artists and non-South Asian artists of color looks like. What are the walls that stand in the way? How can we lift each other up?  

We'll also discuss the walls that exist within South Asian Diaspora itself. How do barriers like caste, class, religion, gender and race produce the artistic oppression of folks in the diaspora? In order to make art that is "by us, for us", how can "South Asia" reflect all of "US"?

In partnership with BUFU and Mayday Space. Part of BUFU: Build with Us Workshop Series. 

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4:00 PM16:00

Building Community Through Art

  • Does art build community, or does it reflect community that already exists?
  • What is the role and/or responsibility of art to build community in a diaspora? What are the complexities of this when it comes to SA art?
  • How accessible is diasporic art (in terms of content, physical access, etc)?
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4:00 PM16:00

Privilege and Opportunity

-- Have you experienced disparities of advantage and disadvantage in your own South Asian communities?
-- Does social class allow certain desis to pursue art as a profession over others? Is it indicative of privilege?
-- Have values and ethics brought to your life by the diaspora impacted your own art and human experience in any way?
-- Can (does) art reflect privilege? If so, in what ways?
-- Does social class determine our exposure and which artists garner more recognition or a larger platform?
-- How can South Asian communities move forward to be more inclusive and accepting?
-- When discussing marginalization of brown folks, is it necessary to also discuss class dynamics? Are we all necessarily "equal?"
-- Does being an offspring of wealthy desi parents with "respected" professions create for more fluidity in expression?

Readings discussed:

The Two Asian Americas
By Karan Mahajan

The staggering difference between rich Asian Americans and poor Asian Americans
By Jeff Guo

Spearheading a Survey of Caste in South Asian Diasporas
Valliammal Karunakaran

The Asian disadvantage (that's being ignored) by Tanzina Vega

6 Reasons We Need to Dismantle the Model Minority Myth of Those ‘Hard-Working’ Asians
By Rachel Kuo

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Art, Activism and Identity
4:00 PM16:00

Art, Activism and Identity

-- Do people of color have a responsibility to create political art centered around their identity?

-- What tensions do we face in being political and part of the diaspora? Do we experience family pressure to be (a)political?

-- What does it mean to make work about your culture?

-- What "sells"? When does making art about your culture become “appropriative”?

-- What is authenticity in political/ identity-based art? Is it an exploration of one’s personal relationship to the culture, or is it performative?

Photo: Good Girls Marry Doctors edited by Piyali Bhattacharya used a reference. 

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Home and the World
4:00 PM16:00

Home and the World

As we continue building the collective we want to have a discussion about how we define belonging to ourselves, our homes + communities, our South Asian cultural heritage + roots, as well as belonging to the greater world of art, activism and social justice. How do these nuanced identities of ours merge into semblance to help us move forward in the process of creating?

Photo: Home and the World by Satyajit Ray. 

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3:00 PM15:00

Ancestry and Affinity Spaces

Event description: 

As we continue building the collective we want to have a discussion about how we define South Asian identity and think about ancestry and heritage in general. What does it mean to have a South Asian affinity space and how can affinity spaces often be inherently anti-black? 

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