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Doctoral candidate Paras Arora Awarded the 2023-24 Arts + Justice Grant

Doctoral candidate Paras Arora has been awarded the 2023-24 Arts +Justice Grant offered by the Stanford Arts Institute and Institute for Diversity in the Arts.  See below for Paras's project title and abstract.

Project Title: In the Shadow of My Mother’s Saree: Narrating, Painting, & Draping Desi Queer Becomings

Project Abstract: Queer people with feminine gender presentation in South Asian communities are routinely policed through everyday taunts that gesture at their fearful existence under the shadow of their mothers’ sarees. Saree, an unstitched garment draped differently by women across South Asia, constitutes not only a site of exclusion but also an altar of refuge, yearning, and possibility for femme people. Conceptualised by a South Asian queer artist and anthropologist, this project seeks to re-member, reconstruct, and reclaim queer people’s relations of love and longing with their families of origin. After painting and calligraphing a saree with scenes that depict both the care and violence that the artist has experienced in relation to their given kinship, they aim to drape the finished saree as part of the final exhibition. Through a combination of narrative non-fiction, painting, and saree-draping, then, this project illuminates how queer South Asians move towards a more just future not always by transcending their familial relations but through an agentive and laborious reworking of relatedness in their communities.