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Virtual Residency With Chitra Ganesh

Come spend time with artist Chitra Ganesh

A virtual residency in conjunction with Oh, honey… A queer reading of the collection

Chitra Ganesh is an artist living and working in Brooklyn. For the past 20 years, Ganesh's drawing based practice has shed light on narrative representations of femininity, sexuality, and power typically absent from canons of literature and art. Ganesh’s installations, comics, animation, sculpture, and mixed media works on paper often take historical and mythic texts as inspiration and points of departure to complicate received ideas of iconic female forms. 

UMMA recently acquired her portfolio of 27 linocut prints, titled Sultana’s Dream, which will be featured in the Oh, honey... exhibition. The series of prints reimagines the 1905 utopian, feminist, sci-fi novella of the same name, and is emblematic of Ganesh’s ongoing ambitions to reimagine the power of female sexuality.

Image credit: Margarita Corporan.

Virtual Residency

During the Winter and Spring of 2021, Ganesh will joined UMMA for a virtual artist residency that included a public artist talk, and a workshop developed collaboratively with U-M students, including the UMMA Student Engagement Council, the Stamps School of Art and Design, and the Spectrum Center. Ganesh also engaged with UMMA’s K-12 program, working with docents to provide an in depth understanding of her work and how it relates to South Asian and feminist works in the collection. 

Sultana's Dream

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One evening I was lounging in an easy chair in my bedroom and thinking lazily of the condition of Indian womanhood.

Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, "Sultana’s Dream"

Chitra Ganesh adapted "Sultana's Dream," a 1905 feminist utopian story by Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain into a series of 27 linocut prints. Ganesh has said her work “connects with the problems shaping 21st-century life,” and by placing Sultana’s Dream in the present or near future, the artist explores contemporary issues of societal unrest, environmental catastrophe, geopolitical conflicts, and modern hurdles to realizing utopian dreams. In her words, Sultana’s Dream is “a moving blueprint for an urban utopia that centers concepts such as collective knowledge production and sharing, fair governance, radical farming, scientific inquiry, safe space for refugees, and a work life balance that includes down time and dreaming, with women--as thinkers, leaders, rebels, and visionaries--at the helm.”

Sultana's Dream was printed and published by Durham Press in 2018.

See all 27 prints and read the story

Chitra Ganesh
Sultana's Dream: A Graphic Novel of Twenty-Seven Linocut Prints (13 of 27)
Linocut on paper
Museum purchase made possible by the University of Michigan Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and the Director's Acquisition Committee, 2019
2019/2.93.13

How We Do

A video installation, titled How We Do, accompanied exhibitions of Sultana’s Dream at The Kitchen in New York and the Dhaka Art Summit in Bangladesh. Emphasizing collective knowledge and skills-sharing as an essential aspect of an equitable future, Ganesh mixes how-to videos and media reports found online with new clips she solicited from friends and members of her broader queer and trans community to create and share videos that show people demonstrating different activities from cooking and playing the ukulele to learning to ride mopeds, and more.

 

A second sequence featuring additional How We Do video tutorials is available on Ganesh's Vimeo page.

View the second sequence

Exhibition and Program Support

Chitra Ganesh’s virtual residency is presented in partnership with the Penny Stamps School of Art and Design and the U-M Spectrum Center. Ganesh is the featured artist for UMMA's 2021 Doris Sloan Memorial Program. Established through the generosity of Dr. Herbert Sloan, the annual Doris Sloan Memorial Program honors one of the Museum’s most ardent friends and supporters, Doris Sloan, a long-time UMMA docent. Support for Oh, honey… and the virtual residency with Chitra Ganesh is provided by Alan Hergott and Curt Shepard and the University of Michigan Office of the Provost.