“UnSuitable Girls” at Smithsonian’s “Beyond Bollywood: Indians in America” Exhibition

Three portraits from “Unsuitable Girls” –a collaboration between Swati Khurana and Anjali Bhargava will be shown in a groundbreaking exhibition at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). Curated by Masum Momaya, the exhibition will explore the heritage, daily experience and numerous contributions that Indian immigrants and Indian Americans have made to shaping the United States. Included in the exhibition will be historical and contemporary images and several dozen artifacts, including those documenting histories of discrimination and resistance, those conveying daily experiences and those symbolizing achievements across the professions. Music and visual art works providing commentary on the Indian American experience will also form a critical component of the exhibition.

The exhibition will be up through March 2015.


Essay by Swati Khurana Featured in SAMAR

Like many artists, Swati Khurana was deeply devastated by the horrific rape and eventual death of a young student in Delhi, in December 2012. She joined other artists and activists, through the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective (SAWCC), in “Freedom Safety Now”—a protest and action in front of the Indian Consulate in NYC.

In an essay for the South Asian Magazine for Action and Reflection, Swati Khurana discusses her letterpress posters, typography in social movements, and harnassing outrage toward social change.


“Sublime Scrolls” at Brooklyn Museum First Saturday

Come to get a text message immortalized by Swati Khurana as part of a performance art series curated by SAWCC

  • March 1, 2014
  • Target First Saturdays at Brooklyn Museum
  • SUBLIME performances are from 8 – 10 PM in the Beaux-Arts Court
  • For this program the museum is free and open to the public from 5 – 11 PM
Experience the sublime in its beauty and terror in this engaging and interactive performance art series presented by SAWCC (South Asian Women’s Creative Collective). You can unravel tales inscribed on a 216 foot long sari; seal your fate or fortune by sparring with the Gods, Karma, and Lady Luck; and even get bullied by Lady Liberty. Ordinary text messages and architecture that is worn on the body will also transport you to realms of precious wonder, delight, and pathos.

Curated by Shelly Bahl, Sunita S. Mukhi and Jasmine Wahi.

Performances by Monica Jahan Bose, Ruby Chishti, Anjali Deshmukh, Swati Khurana, Sunita S. Mukhi and Roshani Thakore.


Suzanne Lacy’s Between the Door and the Street, presented by Brooklyn Museum & Creative Time

Saturday October 19, 4:30-6:30pm, Swati Khurana will participate in Suzanne Lacy’s Brooklyn Museum & Creative Time project “Between the Door and the Street” featuring over 300 activists and artists.

From the curatorial statement: “Between the Door and the Street takes place in Brooklyn, where hundreds of women (and a sprinkling of men) will gather on beautiful brownstone stoops and in entry courtyards of Park Place, in the Prospect Heights neighborhood, for conversations about some of the critical issues confronting women today. The audience will act as a listening voyeur, piecing together the strands of a complicated narrative coming from this intergenerational group, which includes young girls, gay and straight men, activists, heads of feminist journals, preachers, and many others in a vast cross section of contemporary life. While the conversations will be about women, perhaps even feminism (though that term is controversial), some of the topics that will be discussed, like immigration, labor, and poverty, may not typically be viewed as ‘women’s issues.’ They nonetheless have very powerful and specific impacts on women’s lives.”

About the Project

The Full Participant List

Between the Door and the Street

Between the Door and the Street

SAWCC presents “Sublime”

Come to get a text message immortalized by Swati Khurana at DUMBO Arts Festival, as SAWCC presents “Sublime” featuring projects by Monica Jahan Bose, Ruby Chishti, Anjali Deshmukh, Sunita S. Mukhi, Roshani Thakore and Project For Empty Space.

“On Saturday, September 28th from 12-6pm Swati will present her Scrolling Texts project. With a red cigarette girl style tray, she will walk around and elevate passersby’s SMS messages from the banal to the sublime. By transcribing the text onto vellum and tying the scroll with a sacred red thread, an ephemeral message is transformed into a precious object.”

Directions and hours are availabe at the Dumbo Arts Festival website. Please go to SAWCC for more information on the exhibition and the mission of SAWCC.

Unsuitable Girls New Portrait featuring Jasmine Wahi

Unsuitable Girls, Swati Khurana’s collaborative project with photographer Anjali Bhargava has continued with a new portrait featuring Jasmine Wahi as “Least Orthodox Goddess.” The work inspired Jasmine Wahi curate a group show with that title “Least Orthodox Goddess” –“ the embodiment of the female superhero–unapologetically strong, unabashedly sexual, and unequivocally outspoken.”

In addition to the portrait, you can see the life-size “Ideal Family sculptures” at Gallery 151 until September 22nd.

For directions and hours please see Gallery 151 website, and be sure to read the Whitewall Magazine Review of the show.

Opening: The Least Orthodox Goddess

Next Thursday, July 18th, from 6-9pm is the opening of The Least Orthodox Goddess, at Gallery 151 (between 6th and 7th ave). This exhibition was curated by Jasmine Wahi as a response to a body of work with the moniker, by artists Anjali Bhargava and Swati Khurana. It was additionally inspired by interactions that the curator has had working with female survivors of sexual abuse and domestic sex-trafficking.

Work in the exhibition comes from Anjali Bhargava, Peter Gronquist, Julie Heffernan, Swati Khurana, Leila Lal, L’OR, Divya Mehra, Wardell Milan, and Carrie Mae Rose.

The exhibition will be on view at Gallery 151 until August 31st, 2013. For more information on visiting hours and pricing please visit the gallery website.

1040 Lounge: Celebrating and Promoting the Arts in the Bronx

Join us for drinks in the company of your neighbors to enjoy artist talks and performances. Featuring artist Marthalicia Matarrita and Swati Khurana. Presented by the Bronx Museum Community Advisory Council.

Location: North Wing Lobby

Swati Khurana is a NYC-based visual artist and writer. Her work has been exhibited at and reviewed in the following venues and publications: American Museum of Natural History, Art-in-General, Artists Space, Bronx Museum of the Arts, Chatterjee & Lal (Mumbai), Columbia Review, Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo (Costa Rica), New York Times, Queens Museum, ScalaMata Gallery (53rd Venice Biennial), TimeOutMumbai, and Zacheta National Gallery of Art (Warsaw). She was awarded a BRIO Award from Bronx Council of the Arts in 2012. Her work can be viewed online at www.swatikhurana.com

Marthalicia Matarrita graduated from LaGuardia High School of Music & Arts and was a student at SUNY, New Paltz. Her work delicately balances expressions of beauty and decay, savagery and innocence. In 2006, Matarrita formed M-Squared Art Productions with her two brothers. A collective grounded in the four elements of hip-hop, M-Squared integrates art and music into the party landscape of New York City with Marthalicia’s specialty in live painting.

Text Embodied: Transformation of Text into an Experience of Art

“Love Letters and Other Necessary Fictions” part of
Exhibition: ‘Text Embodied: Transformation of Text into an Experience of Art’
Artists: Anila Agha, Amina Ahmed, Saira Ansari, Siona Benjamin,
Khalil Chishtee, Simeen Farhat, Swati Khurana, Amir Parsa
Qasim Riza Shaheen & Imran Nafees Siddqui
Curated by Aisha Z Khan
May 3 – May 31, 2013

Twelve Gates Arts
51 North Second St., Old City
Philadelphia, PA 19106

The contemporary artists in ‘Text Embodied’ embody the written word into their work. The treatment of text as image goes back to early Islamic history. In a recent reading from his new book Aisha’s Cushion at Twelve Gates, Jamal J Elias spoke about the text-image relationship in the art of the Islamic world: “[Monumental epigraphy] operates polysemically, at one level functioning as text with its denoted or connoted meanings, while at others it can be seen as operating iconically as a visual art form inseparable from other elements of the decorative or illustrative program of which it forms a part.” The inclusion of political, social, and even personal concepts utilizing text have come a long way since the culmination of the contemporary calligraphic art movement in the 1980s (in Pakistan), for which Rashid Araeen can be called the pioneer of text-based art. The artists in ‘Text Embodied’ have, in more recent times, brought text back to personal but interrogatory space.

Essay by Swati Khurana Featured in Bloom

In an essay for the literary website Bloom, Swati Khurana leads the reader through her letter-writing life, and the work it has produced. Giving personal anecdotal context to many of her recent works, from the 2008 series “10 Years Later” to her current on-going project “Scrolling Texts,” Khurana explores the written word from the letter, the note, the text message, and how we communicate with each other.