Describe your path since graduating from SAIC, and what you're doing today.
After graduating from SAIC in 2018 (BA VCS Thesis "Bearded Flamingos"), I attended a residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture before moving to New York City and eventually moving back to Kolkata, India, where I currently live. The residency gave me a glimpse into the artworld, which helped me decide it wasn’t for me, atleast at that time. I have since refocused, been lost, and refocused, and been lost, and refocused my creative energies towards arts education, and creative writing. I’ve worked as a Museum Educator at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Photo Faculty at Openhouse, Kolkata, and have been part of the Amra Odbhuth queer and trans artists’ collective. I’ve written a chapbook of poetry, performed and shown work sporadically, learned how to grow things, and found many moments of Joy. (:
Describe how VCS has impacted where you are today.
Some of the most precious connections I made at SAIC happened through VCS. Something about who VCS calls to enables a community that is both critical and creative, both takes itself too seriously and not at all, both introduces jargon and breaks it down, both writes writing and dreams dreams. VCS showed me that there’s a home for messy practices (and existences) like mine, and it has kept me going in search for more homes. I didn’t know what was possible for my practice until VCS said, “What? What was the question? Did you say Lacan? Well the mirror st…oh you said ‘possibilities for your practice’? sorry I misheard you, I don’t know, yes, all citations should be Chicago style, okay ya no ya you can also just not I guess, ya okay, just do it and we’ll see hehe, excited xo”
What is the most memorable experience you have from your time in VCS?
I remember the first paper I wrote for a VCS class feeling so incredibly underconfident because I thought I wasn’t smart enough to be in the class. I’d read and re-read the readings so many times and still found myself struggling to understand what was being said. But the feedback from the faculty was so encouraging and the opposite of what I expected, part of which had to do with my deciding to just be honest about what I had understood. That moment really paved the way for me to find and share my truths over, or maybe alongside, theory.
Describe what VCS students might expect from the program.
VCS students can expect space! I don’t know. VCS was an odd space for me because I moved away from academic research very quickly and was interested more in creating lecture-performances and silly poems. But where I could easily have felt like I didn’t belong, I felt the opposite. I felt appreciated for the work and the perspective I was bringing, and just felt like I was given permission to dive deep into my work in ways that I got to define for myself. When there were assignments and requirements that didn’t fit the work I was doing, I spoke to the faculty and often found alternatives that did work for me. So yes, space! To be critical of criticality, and to be. Oh also sometimes you have to write things so ya.
What do you wish you had known when you were still in VCS?
A lot of theory is WRONG lol
See also falakvasa.com
Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.