Composite image of details from each artist's work ranging from ceramics, prints, textiles, installations and photography

Where She Comes from

Ashwini Bhat, Janhavi Khemka, Neha Puri Dhir, Falaks Vasa and Kushala Vora
Curated by Pia Singh

Oct. 3-28, 2022
Reception: 5:30-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6
Artist Talk: 10-11:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 15 (via Zoom)

Exhibition Statement

"Where She Comes From" traces the corporeal experience of five female artists' living and working between India and America, questioning the material and ideological spaces from where they take their stand. Through varying degrees of artistic and ethnographic inquiry, artists on view embody the nature of being in between two- in terms of place and ideological ground- embodying the ‘both/and.’ Collectively navigating intercultural friction and relationships through writing, sculpture, photography, textile, performance and video, the exhibit is both map and bio-psycho-social terrain where viewers are invited to step away from anthropologizing the third-world female figure, to witness her instead through frameworks of the metaphysical, mythological, spiritual, and ecological.

Stepping out of ‘the body’ as a site for racist and sexist ideological thinking, and away from the nostalgic lens of colonial and post-colonial studies, the exhibition questions the limits placed on the idea of ‘femininity’ or Indian ‘female identity.’ Could s/he be a site beyond gender, a diviner between past and future? Could s/he be an embodiment of radical hope and dissonance, belonging to community while remaining synchronous with environmental time?

Artist Bios

Kushala Vora

Kushala Vora is a dreamer, community organizer and an interdisciplinary artist working in sculpture and drawing. In and through her practice she loosens the exertion of power on oneself, another and the landscape that we reside with. Kushala received her Master of Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She holds a post-graduate diploma in Modern and Contemporary Indian Art History and Curatorial Studies from Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai. Her work has been exhibited at Museum of Fine Arts, Nagoya, Japan; Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit; Mana Contemporary, Chicago; Harvard University, Cambridge; Chicago Artist Coalition among other places. She has been an artist in residence at Skowhegan School of Painting and Drawing, Vermont Studio Center, ACRE Residency, Søndre Green Farm Norway, Chicago Artist Coalition and Anderson Ranch Art Center. She is the co-founder of Atmo - a reading + praxis forum.

Ashwini Bhat 

After 35 years in Southern India, Ashwini Bhat lives and works in the California Bay Area. Coming from a background in literature and classical Indian dance, Bhat now works at the intersection of sculpture, ceramics, installation, video, and performance. She often introduces radical but somewhat familiar forms to suggest a complex interplay between the landscape and the body, the human and the non-human. Bhat is a recipient of the Howard Foundation Award for Sculpture, Pond Farm Julia Terr Fellowship, and the McKnight Foundation Residency Fellowship. She is represented by Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Los Angeles.

Falaks Vasa 

Falaks (they/she, b. 1995) is, first and foremost, a goof and a fool, both in being and in practice. They seek, channel, and produce Joy for and with those whose Joy has been systemically stolen. Falaks is, second and scoremost, an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and educator currently based in Providence, Rhode Island. She graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a BFA (2018), and is currently an MFA candidate in Literary Arts at Brown University (2023). They have also attended artist residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2018) and ACRE (2017). Falaks has published a chapbook of poetry with the unnamed zine project, worked at the Brooklyn Children's Museum as an educator, and shown their artwork internationally at spaces like Elastic Arts, Chicago, the Queens Museum, New York City, the Queer Arts Festival, Vancouver, and Danzkafe Sowieso, the Hague.

Janhavi Khemka 

Born in 1993 in Varanasi, Janhavi Khemka is an interdisciplinary artist in India and Chicago. She attends the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in pursuit of a Master of Fine Arts degree in Print Media. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting and printmaking from the Faculty of Visual Art, Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India ( 2015 ) and a Master of Fine Art in Printmaking from Graphics Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati University in Shantiniketan (2017). She has participated in a number of international and national exhibitions, and print exchanges.

Neha Puri Dhir 

Neha Puri Dhir is a textile artist from India, exploring various resist dyeing techniques on hand-woven textiles since 2013. Having worked extensively with the Indian craft sector, Neha has been passionate about Design education since graduating from the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, India in 2007. She then pursued a Master's in Strategic Design at Politecnico di Milano, Italy (2008) and attended a one-year program in MA Design for Textile Futures at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, London (2010). She has showcased her work in solo and group exhibitions in both India and Canada, Mexico, Latvia, USA, Australia and Portugal. Her work has been acquired by the Bass Collection (USA), Tapi Collection (India) and Mark Rothko Art Center (Latvia).