Picturing Parallax: Photography and Video from the South Asian Diaspora

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Still from Bijli: Heart of a Drag Queen , 2006 Digital Video © Courtesy of the Artist
Picturing Parallax: Photography and Video from the South Asian Diaspora
Curated by: Santhi Kavuri-Bauer

1600 Holloway Ave
SF State University Fine Arts Building, Room 238
San Francisco, CA 94132
September 15th, 2011 - October 15th, 2011
Opening: September 15th, 2011 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Wed-Sat 11-4
SFSU (San Francisco State University)
video, photography, digital
Admission is free


SAN FRANCISCO, August 4, 2011 — A new exhibition at San Francisco State University flips the flawed photographic distortion known as “parallax” into a metaphor for images that offer multiple perspectives. In “Picturing Parallax: Photography and Video from the South Asian Diaspora,” artists from the U.S. and beyond use the parallax as a visual strategy to address and represent globally important issues such as social equity, exile, migration, assimilation, gender and memory.

The exhibit is on display Sept. 15 – Oct. 15. Admission is free.

Santhi Kavuri-Bauer, associate professor of Art, is the curator of “Picturing Parallax.”

“The typical South Asian art exhibit in the U.S. does not delve this deeply into complex issues,” said Kavuri-Bauer, who grew up in New York City after moving from India at age 2. “This exhibit is not all about success and the American dream on American terms. These are the real stories of the dissonance that takes place in everyday life for South Asians who have made America their home.”

Many of the featured artists in “Picturing Parallax” are exhibited rarely on the West Coast. Featured artists include: Jaishri AbichandaniPradeep DalalGauri GillGautam Kansara,Baseera Khan and Ranu Mukherjee.

Abichandani’s “Bijli: Heart of a Drag Queen” is an intimate video of a Pakistani-American who leaves her cultural identity at home when singing at Manhattan nightclubs, but suppresses her drag-queen identity in her Pakistani neighborhood in Brooklyn. Seven candid photographs from Gill’s series “The Americans” depict the daily lives of South Asian immigrants who don’t fit into the stereotypical success story. Instead, most of these subjects represent the housewives, franchise owners and blue-collar workers, inviting viewers to discover hidden dimensions of the American dream.


The Fine Arts Gallery will publish a full-color catalog for “Picturing Parallax.”

“Picturing Parallax” supporters include E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation and SF State’s International Center for the ArtsOffice of International Programs,Retirement Association and Instructionally Related Activities Fund.

“Picturing Parallax” accompanies two partner South Asian exhibits opening soon in San Francisco: “Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts” at the Asian Art Museum and “The Matter Within: New Contemporary Art of India” at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Opening celebration

  • Panel discussion, 2pm: Art Associate Professor Santhi Kavuri-Bauer, Ethnic Studies Assistant Professor Falu Bakrania and Women and Gender Studies Assistant Professor Kasturi Ray
  • Poetry reading, 4pm: Shailja Patel, presented with the Poetry Center
  • Performance, 4:30pm: VidyA performs its blend of jazz and South Indian classical (Carnatic) music. Presented with the Poetry Center.
  • Performance, 5pm: Dholrhythms Dance Co. will lead an interactive bhangra performance, complete with music, dancing and lessons.