omg

Okay. So I haven't updated this news section since June, and now I'm going to go through and write a bunch of posts about past events as if the events haven't happened yet, but I'm feeling exhausted just thinking about all the posts I have to write, so I'm just gonna post this screenshot of a list I'm keeping of events I have to write about at some point.

Okay, cool, that will have to do for now.

Does anyone even read this section?

The Coalition at Project Diana

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The opening for The Coalition at The Alice Gallery's Project Diana happened this past Saturday night. This included the installation itself, as well as a performance that happened from 7-8pm. This was my first performance, and it was a deeply exhausting emotional experience. I am so accustomed to viewing my work with other people; it was interesting to walk away from the opening not knowing exactly how it had gone because I was inside of the work, and therefore could not be removed from it enough to perceive how it was received. 

Thank you to everyone who came out, who contributed their stories and words to the piece, and especially to Saara Ahmed and Natasha Marin, for standing alongside me during the performance. Here are a few images from the opening:

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Here is my statement from the show: 

This project, The Coalition, was born out of a desire to take control. As a woman of color living in Seattle, my body is used as a vessel built to contain narratives that were decided about me long before I existed, narratives born of the colonial white gaze. My skin and heritage, not being as polarizing or immediately political as the skin of my Hispanic and Black sisters, grants me access to a white world, where I am coveted as an exotic and cultured possession. Strangers approach me at openings, not to discuss my work, rather to discuss their own experiences with India and Indian culture, to discuss their love of my people, the girl they dated who looked like me. They are drawn to my mysterious otherness, the magical key that my people hold to spirituality and enlightenment.

But this pass as an object of desire into ‘liberal’ white circles comes at a price. My role is narrow, my movements and opinions limited. My main objective is to listen, smile, and nod, and to carry my brownness deep inside my body, where it is tucked away and can be forgotten. I am meant to bring it out at the request of my white beholders, to appease and entertain them with small, digestible doses of my culture and ethnicity. 

In this exchange, I receive the opportunities that come with my ability to move in white circles, and in return, my white counterparts get to reinforce their beliefs that, through their acceptance of my brown skin, they are as progressive as they claim to be, different than their parents, that they are, truly and earnestly, colorblind. 

But I have seen the other side of this encounter. I have seen what happens when I do more than nod and smile, when I begin to talk about my experiences, my culture, and my life in a way that does not suit the white narrative. I have seen how quickly my exoticized body becomes a polarizing one — how often my words, no matter how reasonable, are labeled as aggressive, judgmental, and of course, ‘racist.’ In arguments about brown bodies, my experience of having lived in one all my life is not seen as a credential — it is seen as an emotional burden that blinds me from the white centric truth.
 
I have seen so many self-proclaimed white progressives take off their masks and become their parents, their grandparents. I have seen them step out of their costumes and don the garb of their legacy. People I have trusted. People I have loved. People who loved my colonized body back, but people whose love quickly ran dry when faced with my radicalized mind.

This betrayal, every time it happens, no matter how often it happens, cuts deep. And just as their desperation to cling to their power is their legacy, my pain is mine. And sometimes, I can’t help but wonder if things were simpler, better, when I did not know the difference between the white gaze and my own. When I was grateful to have access to white circles at all, grateful to have a role to play.

How simple would it be to let my tongue sit heavy in my mouth, my lips spread wide against my skin in a close-mouthed smile. How easy would it be to demand and to want exactly what the white gaze gives me. How painless would it be to be an object that is looked at, talked around, but ultimately accepted.

The Coalition is an attempt to find out.

smART Ventures Grant

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I am thrilled to announce that I have been generously awarded a smART Ventures Grant from the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture. This grant will help fund my summer residency at Twilight Gallery in West Seattle, as well as my solo show at METHOD Gallery in Pioneer Square.

More details about both of these ventures coming soon!

Seattle Art Museum: My Favorite Things Tour

As the Kehinde Wiley exhibit nears its close, I was asked by the good people at the Seattle Art Museum to lead a My Favorite Things tour through the exhibit.

It will be on Friday, April 22 at noon and will last about half an hour. Come see my favorite pieces and listen to me talk about the ways that Wiley's work has impacted my life and work. 

Spoiler alert: I'll be talking about race a whole damn lot.

To see a more thorough description of the event, and to buy tickets, go here!

Aaina at the Seattle Asian Art Museum

This weekend, I was able to teach a free, hourlong workshop as a part of the Women's Focus Festival, Aaina, which is organized by Tasveer, a South Asian nonprofit operating out of Seattle.

We had about 25 participants in the workshop, which was an exercise in creating paper rangolis. Such a powerful experience to be invited into a space with so many powerful South Asian women who are pushing the boundaries of what is expecting from us. Seriously an honor.

Design Your Neighborhood Celebration

Photo of the corner of the room, courtesy of Elisa Renouard

Photo of the corner of the room, courtesy of Elisa Renouard

For the past three months, I have been the teaching artist in a program that is a partnership between the Seattle Art Museum and Seattle Parks and Recreation. The program, called Design Your Neighborhood, is a free, intensive program for teens in Seattle that teaches them about art and design, and how it can be used to bring positive social change in their communities.

As part of the celebration, I designed custom business cards for each student

As part of the celebration, I designed custom business cards for each student

This session, I was teaching at the South Park Community Center, where I led a group of about ten teens in the process of redoing the Teen Room in the center. We met for 8 hours a week for three months, the students had a budget of $2,000, and a lot of guidance from some amazing people in the community, including Elisa Renouard and Jerry Garcia, both of whom are architects at Olson Kundig. 

It was an amazing experience, and I will be putting a video up soon.

Workshop at Seattle Art Museum's Remix

Super excited to announce that I will be leading a workshop at the SAM Remix in March, which will be happening in conjunction with the Kehinde Wiley exhibition. Have to say that I am in very good company, since other workshops will be taught by Tariqa Waters and missTANGQ. 

My workshop will be inspired by Robert Rauschenberg's Cardbirds, in which participants will be invited to focus on form and abstraction using recycled materials to create their very own Cardbird. 

Advance tickets are sold out, but there are limited tickets at the door, so show up early and party late, folks. It's the biggest art party in Seattle! Come get drunk and look at art. It is seriously the most ideal situation.

Read more about it here: SAM Remix

Feature on King5 Seattle's Evening Magazine

I was really excited to be contacted by Tom Bishop from Seattle King5 a few weeks ago, asking if I would be interested in sharing the story behind my solo exhibition, What's Left Behind, for an Evening Magazine feature. The story that I shared is one that is very personal to me, and it is one that I still have a hard time trusting others with.

Thankfully, Tom communicated my story perfectly, with great integrity, and I am deeply grateful to him. If even one little girl was able to watch this feature and feel less alone, then I will have accomplished my goal.

Huge shoutout to King5 and especially to Tom.

What's Left Behind: Solo Exhibit

My solo exhibit, entitled What's Left Behind, is officially up at the Ethnic Heritage Arts Gallery in downtown Seattle. The show, which is up from January 20th to April 15th, 2016, is deeply personal to me.

Here's a short excerpt from the statement: Through works that combine destructive and intricate processes, as well as industrial and feminine materials, Satpreet addresses her history with, and broader issues of, sexual violence, especially as they apply to women of color, by recognizing the unique burden they face to protect their communities while simultaneously advocating for themselves as victims.