‘Love’-ing and leaving

I went to the the first South Asian American art exhibit at a major museum that I’ve ever heard of:

I saw a queer Rani of Jhansi, she of the Mutiny, lying dead in snow. I saw a six-yard sari made of Coca-Cola bottlecaps, silver with an orange border. I saw a wall of crimson medicine bottles called ‘Blame’: blame a minority, you’ll feel better in the morning…

I saw a book of memory by a Malayalee daughter, Annu Matthew, who must’ve loved her daddy like Anna loved hers. Her father had died young of smoking. She collaged her childhood snaps into new photos, painting her own Pygmalion paternis. Then she surrounded her false memories with tobacco strewn on cigarette paper like ashes…

I ran into Kal Penn and asked him how he’ll play a super-henchman. ‘Dude, I haven’t even seen the script yet,’ he said. But he remembered the Harold hungama. Boy, did he ever. He was in celeb-out-for-groceries attire, a baseball cap pulled low over his eyes; he’s taller and thinner than he looks on screen…

Outside the museum, Shea Stadium and the World’s Fair site were wintry carcasses. The Unisphere, its fountains drained, hung without an Atlas. I stood below the Indian plate, staring up at the stainless-steel underbelly of America.

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10 thoughts on “‘Love’-ing and leaving

  1. I saw a queer Rani of Jhansi, she of the Mutiny, lying dead in snow.

    from your wikipedia link:

    The British adopted the old Mughal punishment for mutiny and sentenced rebels were lashed to the mouth of cannons and blown to pieces.

    careful, mutineers.

  2. look who my fellow malu mourner is repped by:

    SEPIA International opened to the public in 1999 in Chelsea, New York with two substantial exhibition galleries. Sepia is dedicated to supporting and encouraging artists of all nations whose work reflects issues unique to their socio-cultural environment, by highlighting the vision and skill of photographers from all over the world. Through carefully planned exhibitions Sepia will facilitate a worldwide exchange of art, ideas and information, providing a forum for artists, scholars and an interested public audience.

    : )

  3. What a gem of an exhibition! The mela ambience wasn’t all that conducive for pondering the art. I will definitely be going back to really take it in. I did spot a number of diasporic celebrities, notable among whom were Mira Nair and Salman Rushdie! I also had a brief conversation w/ Kal Penn. He is one cool cat… very down to earth!

  4. Wish I was in NY to catch this. With all the south asians in the SF-Bay Area, we should be able to put on a similar exhibit!