Sultana’s Dream

Special Preview Reception, Saturday, August 4, 6-7 pm (minimum $30.00 donation)
Free exhibition catalogue
Wine compliments of Billimoria Wines & Krait Beer
Complimentary admission to the benefit party

Benefit Party, Saturday, August 4, 9-12 pm ($15 admission)
Featurning DJ Rekha and DK aka Bollygirl
Click here to for advanced donations (please print receipt and present at entrance).
Tickets will be available at the door.

SAWCC (South Asian Women’s Creative Collective) is an organization dedicated to the advancement, visibility and development of emerging and established South Asian women artists. SAWCC provides a forum for South Asian women artists to profile their creative and intellectual work, and network with other South Asian women artists, educators, community workers and professionals.

As the art world celebrated the work of women artists this year, and as SAWCC commemorated their 10th anniversary, this exhibition at Exit Art contributed to the spectacle in SAWCC’s truly collective fashion. Sultana’s Dream, curated by Jaishri Abichandani, Founder of SAWCC, featured collaborative works and participatory projects that were been produced through a process of dialogue between at least two South Asian women artists – across disciplines that include: visual artists and writers, dancers, filmmakers, musicians etc. Sultana’s Dream included the work of established South Asian women artists such as Shahzia Sikander and Chitra Ganesh, as well as emerging or lesser known South Asian women artists selected from an open call for submissions. Including more than thirty artists of Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani, Nepali, Afghan, Kuawaiti and Iranian descent, Sultana’s Dream showcased the spectrum of South Asian women’s intellectual and aesthetic perspectives.

The exhibition’s title was a reference to the classic short story “Sultana’s Dream” by Rokeya Sakhawat Hussain. In the story, the typical Muslim custom of consigning women to relative seclusion is reversed; in the feminist utopia of “Sultana’s Dream” the women make fantastic advances in the public sphere while men are relegated to the private sphere. Like the story, this exhibition underscores the innate potential of women’s collective action. In Index of the Disappeared, the artists Chitra Ganesh and Mariam Ghani created an installation composed of suspended neon signs and direct-applied vinyl lettering in English with Urdu, Arabic and Hindi hand-painted on the walls and aluminum signs in the style of the old countries. The words and phrases featured in this installation were taken from the artists’ archive of official documents, ephemera, and testimony that trace how censorship and data blackouts after 9/11 have created real disappearances in immigrant, dissenting, and other communities across the US. In the sound installation Lota Stories, the visitor will hear men and women who hid their use of a lota, a water vessel typically used in bathrooms in South-Asia, from their American friends, lovers and roommates. Alternately humorous and poignant, Lota Stories underscores how the pressures of assimilation can impact even the most mundane of rituals.


Samira Abbassy, Jaishri Abichandani, Fariba Alam, Mouna Andraos, Siona Benjamin, Anjali Bhargava, Anna Bhushan, Mareena Daredia, Sharmila Desai, Chitra Ganesh, Asha Ganpat, Mariam Ghani, Rajkamal Kahlon, Emily Jacir, Mona Kamal, Jesal Kapadia, Sarita Khurana, Swati Khurana, Yamini Nayar, Vicky Moufawad-Paul, Carol Pereira, Sreshta Premnath, Fatima Al Qadiri, Monira Al Qadiri, Sadia Rehman, Prerana Reddy, Ela Shah, Asma Ahmed Shikoh, Shahzia Sikander, Sonali Sridhar, Anahita Vossoughi, 6 + women’s art collective, and SAFED STUDIO.


Experimental Film and Video Program Co Presented by 3rd I New York Film Collective
Curated by Prerana Reddy, former SAWCC Board member and Director of Public Events at the Queens Museum of Art

Literary Panel Co Presented by the Asian American Writers Workshop
Curated by Anjali Goyal, SAWCC Board member and Programs coordinator at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop

Visual Artists and Curators Panel
Curated by SAWCC Board members Mareena Daredia and Sadia Rehman of Bose Pacia Gallery


This exhibition and catalog are supported by a generous grant from Catharine and Jeffrey Soros.
Additional exhibition support provided by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Starry Night Fund at The Tides Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, Jerome Foundation, Exit Art’s Board of Trustees and our members. Public programming support provided by The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.