Testimonials and Reflections
Both artists said the experience was extremely enriching for their own work, and valued the opportunity to show their art to a new audience. “We are addressing common issues, but there are cultural differences. I loved the artists talks and discussions about our practice. Seeing how people from a different part of world react to their work – it’s valuable,” Sengupta said
“Coming together and deciding new things, planning new projects, you get more motivated and enthusiastic to start on new projects when you go back to your country,” Khan said.
“Through my art installation of white butterflies, I invited people to write their personal wishes. It is humbling to see the white butterflies used as a vehicle to create such a profound opportunity for human connection and exchange. During my short stay at Harvard, I had the honor of meeting some amazing and accomplished personalities. The valuable time spent at Harvard equipped me with a springboard, from which I will launch toward new directions with excitement and reflective awareness.”
“The cosmopolitan nature of Harvard was comforting. I was amazed by the rare book collection, huge libraries, and the thought-provoking exhibitions which gave me lot of material, thoughts, and direction to think about my work. I wish I could have spent more time in those libraries. Interacting with members of the South Asian diaspora at my performance lecture was very interesting. I learned about identity, belonging, body, and politics.”
“My time at Harvard was a combination of learning, both as an artist and as a young teacher who has been engaged in teaching since the beginning of my professional carrier as an artist in Pakistan. As these roles overlap with each other; my position as a teacher at times is not much different than my practice as an artist. My short yet busy time at Harvard was a constant learning experience, about myself and the work I do. I had an opportunity to put my creative process on a display by doing an artist talk, displaying my work at SAI’s office, and conducting the workshop ‘a Memory, a Monument, a Material’ with students. Most exciting was to have an insightful tour to the Harvard Art Museums with Stephanie Rozman, Calderwood Curatorial Fellow, Harvard Art Museums. I had the a chance to engage in a few classes at Harvard such as: Video, Performance, Narrative, Text, Actions with Jennifer Bornstein; The Art of Noticing with Gordon Teskey; and the Cultural Agents Class Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding by Doris Sommer. I would like to thank the Harvard South Asia Institute for this exceptional opportunity, which I am sure will resonate in my art, as well as in my teaching.”
“The Harvard experience on campus was extremely gratifying and thrilling to say the least. You’ll made me feel very very welcome. Walking around campus and being in the student environment really brought back my own college days, but an Ivy League environment, I have to admit, it was really something else. I always had my misgivings about someone paying so much for an education, and maybe perhaps I still do, but I can no longer tell myself that it is of no use. Being there was something special. I’m sure it is a life-changing experience for most students who are privileged enough to go there. I think some of the high points of my trip, besides meeting everyone and being immersed in the school activities would be being shown around Harvard Art Museum by Stephanie Rozman, and seeing Widener Library with Richard Lesage. It was a pleasure meeting Sunil Amrith and attending his class. I met Sunil when he was in Mumbai thereafter and we have promised to keep in touch, so it was one good solid contact in terms of work and collaboration, and I have SAI to thank for that.”