Through Customs

SAWCC Visual Arts Show
August 1 - 23, 2003
New York

Download Press Release (PDF 36 K)

July 2003 New York - Bose Pacia Gallery, located at 508 West 26th Street, 11th floor in Chelsea, presents Through Customs, a group exhibition of 11 artists organized by the South Asian Women's Creative Collective. The exhibition will be opening to the public on Friday August 1st from 6 to 8 p.m. Through Customs will be on view through August 23rd, from 12-6 p.m. on Tuesday-Saturday and by appointment.

Each year SAWCC gathers submissions from its membership locally and internationally. These are reviewed by leading curators and arts professionals, a practice that gives visibility to high-quality works by South Asian women artists. Through Customs was juried by Shamim Momin, Branch Director and Curator, and Raina Lampkins-Fielder, Associate Director, Helena Rubinstein Chair of Education, both at the Whitney Museum of American Art. This exhibition presents contemporary art from diverse cultural contexts throughout South Asia and its diaspora.

Jaishri Abichandani's photographs explore the relationship between the supernatural and the quotidian, reflecting upon a singular source of energy unifying the phenomenal world. In her site-specific installations, Shelly Bahl playfully re-imagines domestic environments that become stages for interactive moments of storytelling, cultural consumption and exotification.

Siona Benjamin's work creates a hybrid mosaic combining classical and contemporary imagery evoking Indian miniature paintings and Sephardic Jewish symbolism. Chitra Ganesh's work incorporates drawing and installation to invent a mythology that explores how memories and their repression form moments of both personal and social crises.

Mala Iqbal's paintings explore the uncanny through moody landscapes that range from toxic to beautiful. Rachel Kalpana James' work uses the diary as a vehicle to explore intersections of personal and political histories, to question historical fact, and as a metaphor for daily revelation.

Transforming rare 19th century printed materials with her painted interventions, Rajkamal Kahlon complicates historical representations of South Asian subjects, exposing the limits of so-called authentic representation. Yamini Nayar's large format photographs create portraits of miniature environments constructed to reference South Asian American interiors, commenting upon experiences of migration, identity, and nostalgia.

Created from traditional Indian fabrics, Carol Pereira's sculptural installations fuse motifs of abstract painting and South Indian culture to create bodily forms that both envelop and restrict the viewer. Inspired by the role of the self in a densely populated urban space, Seema Rao's installations address collective human interaction using only the two words "You" and "I" in 52 languages. Mithu Sen creates installations that explore feminine identity and the fear of its loss. Using materials such as human hair, her work looks at the daily performance of female sexuality.

On Friday, August 15 a Benefit Performance will be held at Bose Pacia Modern from 7-9 p.m. Meera Nair will be reading from her short-story collection Video, joined by musical group Kalikut Root, dancer Ishrat Hoque, and others. There will be an admission fee of $10 sliding scale for the Performance Event. All proceeds will benefit SAWCC.

The South Asian Women's Creative Collective is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement, visibility, and development of emerging and established South Asian Women artists. Since 1997, SAWCC has been an alternative community within which to explore the creative process and politics of representation. For more information, please visit

This event was made possible through support from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Fund for Creative Communities/NYSCA and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.