In the summer of 1997, my parents took me to New York for a week long vacation. I was fourteen-years-old, and as we came out of the Lincoln Tunnel into midtown Manhattan, I thought, “This is it. I will live here. I will make it happen.” That moment would later create the pathway to an unforgettable journey of fulfilling my dreams and passions.
Since New York City has long been known as the literary capital of the world, it only made sense for the Indo-American Arts Council to present the first ever South Asian Literary Festival this past week. The participants and attendees will surely agree, much was shared, great conversations were had and words from writers will never be forgotten.
Recently, I watched the Chanel show at Copenhagen Fashion Week and I was blown away! Fashion’s relationship to feminism has always been on an unsteady ground. Some argue that the industry poses a hindrance, which objectifies women and marginalizes people of color. Others say that fashion is empowering and provides a medium, where women and men can defy societal norms and belong to a space where everyone is equal. Though I’m well aware of the fashion industry’s flaws and controversies, I believe in fashion as a mode of freedom and expression.
In recent years, women’s safety and security has become a pressing issue around the world. Despite many modern-day advancements, I feel that women of this century still have some sorrow deep inside their hearts. It is a feeling of helplessness, vulnerability and concern for their safety. Growing up in an Indian Army background, I got the chance to travel to several cities around India. I always felt very sad witnessing the hardships faced by many women in my country. I wanted to use my painting to express her emotions and the issues that she faces from birth throughout the rest of her life. This empowering series of paintings describes the plight of all women of color.
Have you ever felt truly inspired, like a wave of passion and possibility has taken you for a ride? That is the feeling that came over me as I walked out of the Chicago South Asian Film Festival this weekend. CSAFF is an annual showcase of independent South Asian cinema. The festival encourages emerging talent by giving first-time filmmakers the opportunity to screen their productions on a global platform. Filmmakers, writers, actors and audience members gathered together to celebrate South Asian culture and history through art.