Radiate: Art of the South Asian Diaspora represents the work of eleven artists currently residing in the Northeast United States who share origins and connections in South Asia. The diversity of meaning, metaphor, and material in their work defies attempts at locating any fixed geographic or cultural “essence” of identity among these artists. Rather, multiple and mutable senses of self and history are expressed through concepts and forms that weave an abundant labyrinth of associations.
The artists featured in Radiate articulate a variety of different questions centering around their identities and experiences within the South Asian diaspora. Religion and mythology serve as particular points of inspiration, reference, and practice for Siona Benjamin, Tenzin Wangchuk, Amina Ahmed, and Ebenezer Sunder Singh. The dynamics of global politics as well as personal experiences of displacement and migration, connection and detachment, are reflected in the work of Vijay Kumar, Sonia Chaudhary, Samantra Batra Mehta, and Neil Chowdhury. Finally, the integration of traditional and new technologies through media and metaphor are reflected in the work of Shelly Bahl, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, and Anjali Deshmukh.
Artists of the South Asian diaspora have been a dynamic force in reframing and reshaping Asian and Euro-American art history. Whether drawing from family heritage in South Asia, the United States, or other parts of the world, their movements between geographies, histories, and cultural practices of East and West characterize an open and adaptable sense of self that is the optimum “essence” for a globalized world.