Sari Block Printing with Recent Immigrants from Amnesty International: Reliving our cultural traditions
I come from a family of immigrants. But now as a first generation American, I never expected that immigrants would be stigmatized to a point that they would be feeling like second class citizens and vulnerable to abuse and even physical attack. The current climate promotes a homogenized culture that turns on its head the historic idea that we are a country that has been formed from immigrant cultural traditions. In collaboration with Amnesty International whose Longer Table Initiative is complementary to FEAST in that recent immigrants are welcomed into the community with a large potluck dinner. In my work, I teach Indian sari woodblock printing designed to preserve cultural traditions. In contrast to this small scale effort to resist cultural homogenization such as the cheap “fast fashion” products - created unsustainably and an environmentally detrimental way- which has forced textile traditions like this to no longer be carried down from family to family. We will carve the blocks live using simplified techniques.We will print the name blocks on a saris and other traditional Indian clothing with using rollers and water-based inks.The funds will cover materials and the cost of an art assistant. Reenacting this textile tradition reminds us of how communal communities worked together for their mutual survival. This piece will be on display as a part of an installation on peace.
This was my proposal a few months back- and spoiler- I did not win. Since then a lot has changed. I have partnered more formally with Amnesty, and I have approached and changed my project a lot to create a exhibition with VisArts and the Sandy Spring Museum. I am still feeling out how to make this project work. But I now know- that it can start to move forward. I will be sharing our newest event soon.