Stories that are evolving, still forming. Stories that have not yet been published or exhibited or told before. Stories that are not inscribed anywhere but are part of daily lives. Stories that have a beginning, but there is neither a climax nor an end. Stories that not just writers, artists and authors are churning out. Stories that are instead coming out from all walks of life, from people who are living those stories. Stories that have not formed yet. Stories that are liquid. 

Stories and storytellers have a way of finding me or crossing paths with me. On a gorgeous summer afternoon, I sat with a room full of women watching and talking for a live TV shoot. As the shoot was wrapping up and we were running out of the door, a voice came from behind me, “You mentioned you write. Do you have a few minutes to talk?” 

The voice was that of Pallavi Sharma, an artist, performer, curator and storyteller. Pallavi is the founder of InnerEye Arts, an art organization that works to provide visibility to multidisciplinary artists of Asian diaspora in the San Francisco bay area. An artist who has showcased and performed her work on several platforms, she remains hungry to collaborate and curate more.  

When immigrating into a new country, it could get very lonely. It could also get very challenging to keep your cultural roots and art forms alive. Pallavi explains that was the primary reason that very early on in her career she started reaching out to people and working with them. You can create your own art and be an artist or you can surround yourself with different art forms and artists, the latter is more enriching. She is currently also the board member at the Asian American Women Artist association.

The love for reaching out to others to know their stories and bring stories together instantly connected us(it is also the reason why this blog was born) and eventually led to an invitation to be part of her art exhibition called “Liquid Stories” that will bring together artists and non-artists to represent their stories through different art forms.Collaboration has been a key aspect of Pallavi’s work from very early on.

The mere mention of an “art exhibition” puts it in a secluded zone. There is a perception that it is an event meant exclusively for the artists and the art lovers and those that have a certain intellect to comprehend the art. 

The exhibit “Liquid Stories” is all about breaking those barriers and notions. When an art is formed from collaboration and contribution of several people, artists and non-artists, it makes itself intensely rich, beautiful, diverse yet open and welcoming to others. It does not have a boundary sketched around it and it has stories that familiar and closer to  everybody’s life. The stories that transcend borders, religions, genders and ethnicities. Human stories about emotions and memories, the journey of life, the black, the white and the grey. 

In between our conversation, that has now extended beyond few minutes, I asked Pallavi how she worked on conceptualizing the idea of the show. She replied instantly, “Everything in today’s life is so dynamic and is always moving and changing. Nothing is formed yet. Nothing stays still. I was very curious about those stories. Stories emerging from our identity for example, I as an immigrant have a story and I as a woman have a story and both are still forming. They are liquid. You have similar stories too and yours will be different than mine. I want to hear and showcase it all.” 

There is a certain energy in the conversation by now that intrigues me further. I learn that the exhibition will bring the work of twelve visual artists who have taken absolute freedom to explore their subjects in a state of flux. The have constantly grappled with the depiction of intricate narratives of the human mind and body, in forms of memories and expressions. ( We will cover those in detail in next few posts.)

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Above – A few exhibits for the show from the installation this week.

The exhibition opens this weekend. Earlier this week,the installation of the exhibits were completed. An exquisite labor of love and a monument of stories.  If you live in the bay area, please stop by. I am a minuscule part of the exhibition but never before have I felt so wonderful about sharing a story with the world in such a creative format. 

Over the next few days, I will be sharing the stories behind few of the exhibited art work and the stories of the artists who have so passionately created them. The next post would be for an exhibit called “MeghDoot”, curated and created by Pallavi Sharma with contribution from many storytellers (includes two stories written by me). 

Liquid Stories 

Curated By : Pallavi Sharma

Lindsay Dirkx Brown Gallery, 12501 Acosta Blvd, San Ramon, CA

Participating Artists: Lydia Nakashima Degarrod, Normal Raja, Ingrain Nayar Gall, Judy Shintani, Samantha Thunder, Shailly Sharma Bhavnagar, Kelsey Myers, Reiko Fujji, Irene Wibawa, Shari DeBoer Salma Arastu and Negin Sharifzadeh

Pictures : Provided by and Copyright of Inner Eye Arts . 

Written by : Piya Mukherjee Kalra 

Featured Image : By Reiko Fujii ‘Distorted Memories” , Glass, 2016

 

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