The opening reception of “Re-Drawing Resistance” at the Queens Museum of Art on March 15th honored the contribution of artwork created by survivors of domestic violence and their supporters, including Sakhi for South Asian Women’s own volunteer-created piece, “Soaring Above Violence.
“We are so honored to be part of this exhibit. It is amazing to see what is possible when we work together,” Purvi Shah, Sakhi’s Executive Director, told the gathering of about 40 attendees. “Often times, we see only the bleak horrors of abuse. This exhibit enables us to imagine a stronger, safer world, and brings to life our hopes and ambitions of a community without violence through the unique vision of our dedicated volunteers.”
Representatives from Sanctuary for Families; OfERR; The International Foundation of Crime, Prevention, and Care; and Edhi Foundation were all onhand to honor and celebrate the artwork, which included paintings and jewelry produced by South Asian survivors from the U.S., India and Pakistan, as well as striking photos of Sri Lankan refugees who have fled civil war and found shelter in India.
Guillermo Linares, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, also made an appearance, speaking admiringly of the Sakhi piece—a kite comprising various photographs and drawings related to women’s empowerment and domestic violence.
“What I find striking about the collective work that takes the form of the kite is that it connects with so many cultures and traditions,” Commissioner Linares observed, adding that the kite shape evoked his own childhood memories of kite-flying along the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic.
Jagy Patel and Farheen Azhar, two Sakhi volunteers who helped craft the kite exhibit, spoke about its symbolism at the reception. “It’s the idea of hopeful women and survivors in a situation that may not seem like there’s a lot of hope,” Farheen said. Adding her own perspective, Jagy commented, “I love the idea of the kite because it shows we’re trying to rise above violence.”
One of the artists spoke with great emotion to attendees about the small arts stall she will be opening up this April in Queens as her own means of soaring above violence. She also thanked Sakhi and Sanctuary for Families for the assistance they provided her with during difficult times. “Certainly, it helps build confidence,” she said of creating art.
The Queens Museum of Art Director of Public Events, Prerana Reddy, affirmed this viewpoint. Events such as the “Re-Drawing Resistance” exhibit, she observed, allow the museum to show that it serves as a community space for art. “This exhibit shows the healing power of art,” she said. “It shows that pain can be released.”
Serena Chaudry, an organizer of the exhibit, addressed some of the main reasons behind “Re-Drawing Resistance” itself, which will also be showcased in Boston and Toronto.
“The main thing is to really help people see the strength and resistance in these communities,” she said, noting that the exhibit challenges common stereotypes.
The exhibit will remain on display at the museum until March 29th.