"The art of South Asian identity, history, politics"

The South Asian Women's Creative Collective's latest exhibit, Ornate Activate, opened this month at the Shirin Gallery in Manhattan. The annual visual arts show, open through July 9, features 22 talented contemporary South Asian female artists from around the world.

Bringing together mediums of animation, video installation, projection mapping, photography, drawing, painting, sculpture and book-making, Ornate Activate is a cohesive collection of diverse works that reclaim the meaning of decorative motifs and craft.

“The artists included in the show have found different ways to incorporate a wide range of patterns drawn from South Asian identity and history in order to create works that are relevant to, and comment on, the current state of affairs and politics in both South Asia and the Diaspora,” Negin Sharifzadeh, the exhibition coordinator, told India Abroad. “They are re-contextualizing patterns and craftsmanship to question political and social boundaries, and to create critical content.” Sharifzadeh explained that the issues explored in the exhibit intend to address violence against women, torture in prisons, child prostitution, the role of the hijab, South Asian identity in the Diaspora, the role of religious iconology and symbols and the critique of how global capitalism is invading all markets and minds.

Artists on display include Nida Abidi, Fariba Alam & Shagun Singh, Kamal Badhey, Shelly Bahl, Marcy Chevali, Priyanka Dasgupta, Roya Farassat, Asha Ganpat, Parisa Ghaderi, Zainab Hussain, Monica Jahan Bose, Vandana Jain, Umber Majeed, Radhika Mathews, Indrani Nayar-Gall, Kaveri Raina, Nirmal Raja, Sausan Saulat, Asma Ahmed Shikoh, Suran Song and Udita Upadhyaya.

Events surrounding the exhibition have included a one-night symposium, Ornate Contemplate, on craft and pattern at NYTJ's Asian Pacific American Institute, in which artists and thinkers across disciplines discussed pattern-making in a broader context.

Still to come: A walk-through with Guest Curator Alexander Campos June 25 and a private closing reception July 9, both at the Shirin Gallery.

Tickets for the closing event can be purchased at www.eventbrite.com/e/10-25-50-can-you-taste-the-difference-a-blind-wine-tasting-tickets-17291705958.