Chitra Ganesh, a Brooklyn-based contemporary artist of South Asian origin, creates installations, comics, animation, sculpture, and mixed media works on paper. Her process often engages historical and mythic texts as inspiration and points of departure to create new representations of culture, femininity, sexuality, and power, and to bring queer femme perspectives typically absent from canons of literature and art.
How does Ganesh employ research to approach these large ideas, identities, and histories in her research and creative process? Join this discussion + workshop to learn directly from Ganesh about her artistic practice, and to apply a little of her approach to your own creative projects (whether they be artistic, conceptual, entrepreneurial, or otherwise). Browse her website and Instagram.
During the workshop
Participants are invited to think of something that inspires them and/or they have questions about:
- a film
- a book, poem, comic or graphic novel, or other form of writing
- a common historical narrative
- a person (past or present)
- something from Tik Tok
- a meme
- a video
Through discussion, writing, doodling, drawing, and other exercises, this workshop will offer the space to explore and expand the ways in which creative projects can offer critiques of society, ideas about history and identity, and new imaginings of what is possible.
Sultana’s Dream and recent work
Recently acquired by UMMA and featured in the upcoming exhibition Oh honey...A queer reading of the collection, Ganesh’s series of prints Sultana’s Dream takes its inspiration from a 1905 text by the same name written by Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, a trailblazer for women's rights in South Asia. In Ganesh's words, Sultana’s Dream is a moving blueprint for an urban utopia that centers concepts such as collective knowledge production, fair governance, radical farming, scientific inquiry, safe space for refugees, and a work-life balance that includes down time and dreaming, all with women--as thinkers, leaders, rebels, and visionaries--at the helm. A video installation titled How We Do accompanied two exhibitions of Sultana’s Dream in New York and Bangladesh. In the installation, Ganesh mixed how-to videos and media reports found online with clips she solicited from friends and members of her broader queer and trans communities, seeking to build a body of collective knowledge and skill-sharing techniques, which she proposes are an essential aspect of an equitable future.
In her most recent work, A city will tell you her secrets if you ask, this year’s QUEERPOWER public art installation at the Leslie Lohman Museum of Art in NYC, Ganesh celebrates queer, trans, and BIPOC histories of downtown Manhattan while commemorating the deaths of trans people murdered in 2020 and LGBTQ activists lost to COVID.
Chitra Ganesh: On Utopia and Dissent. Friday, March 12, 8 p.m. presented by UMMA and the Penny Stamps Speaker Series