“OUR NAME IS REBEL”: Life paths and dream worlds in South Asian Diaspora

“OUR NAME IS REBEL”: Life paths and dream worlds in South Asian Diaspora

“OUR NAME IS REBEL”: Life paths and dream worlds in South Asian Diaspora

from the amazing sisters at Browntourage

Rad Bay Area artists Amman Desai and Nisha Sembi teamed up to explore the history of Anti-hegemonic South Asian dissent in Berkeley in an exhibition called ¨OUR NAME IS REBEL,” and boi have I found my home! As a queer cis-male middle class South Asian invested in dismantling systems of oppression myself, these images inspired me to see my people in a radical new frame. I read them against the myth of the model minority (one that basically advocates for acceptance of systems of oppression in order to get ahead i.e. pursuing “safe” career paths, not protesting etc.). This path, usually taken by upper middle class South Asians who buy into this idea of “achieving financial success through complicity with white supremacy”, often perpetuates anti-black racism, and within many Hindu contexts, Islamophobia in our post 9/11 moment to more successfully assimilate into “the right kind of brown”. In contrast, “OUR NAME IS REBEL” focuses on the anti-colonial Ghadar Party and South Asian women activists who protested Indira Ghandi’s suspension of democracy, highlighting histories that are rarely taught and life-paths rarely supported. By valorizing rebels, Sembi and Desai’s art presents us with a radically alternative way of identifying as South Asian- one that does not assume repressive patriarchy or class ascendancy. Read More

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