Purvi Poets

Forewording Beauty

Art as Change: Social Practice

17 CF Soul SparkI believe in the power of art to foster connection and transformation — particularly on issues related to violence, structural inequity, and community healing. My art practice furthers my advocacy to end gender violence and spur racial equity. In a way cold facts cannot, art opens up dialogue, furthers healing, and creates spaces that allow for change. From public art projects to creating films to leading healing workshops, I’ve engaged with communities in creative practice to widen our possibilities for our selves, an equitable society, and complex truths rooted in diverse experiences.

In my social practice, I foster transformative listening and dialogue towards social impact and equity. My social practice work is rooted in communities and conversation. I believe our stories are valuable and that we can foster healing and democratic change through community-building via public art. You can explore my recent social practice projects here:

Movement to Power

How do we end violeMovement to Power Feetnce and heal ourselves? How do we do so in community? How do we enable creative practice to regenerate our possibilities and create new stories for our pasts, present, and futures? Building on my work to end gender violence, in the community-based project Movement to Power, we brought together Asian American survivors of gender and sexual violence, gender justice advocates, and community members invested in ending violence to move, express, heal, and transform our relationship to violence, our communities, and ourselves. Hosted by the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective, I served as Project Director for this free six-week creative arts workshop series. Alongside co-facilitators Deesha Narichania and Parul Shah and project participants, we generated a safe space for connection, community-building, and healing. See for yourself in Movement to Power, a short film capturing our work of transformation.

Together We Are New York: Asian Americans Remember and Re-Vision 9/11

LMCC2011_InSiteKundiman 152_godlisFor communities facing the aftermath of 9/11, community storytelling and poetry of witness is vital. In Together We Are New York: Asian Americans Remember and Re-Vision 9/11, a polyphonic multimedia performance and community-based art project, Asian American poets interviewed community members on their experiences with 9/11 and the decade since. Our community voices — survivors of the attacks and racist backlash — have often been overlooked or silenced. Through oral storytelling, multimedia creative expression, and dialogue, we helped to ensure Asian American community voices were presented and shared as a vital part of the fabric of city memory and our nation’s journey forward. Each multimedia performance included audio clips of interviewees, original poetry, and dialogue with audiences. I served as Artistic Director of the project and film scriptwriter. In partnership with Kundiman, the poet team comprised Hossannah Asuncion, Tamiko Beyer, Marlon Esguerra, April Naoko Heck, Eugenia Leigh, Bushra Rehman, Zohra Saed, R.A. Villanueva, and myself.

What Creates Change?

What Creates Change ParadeHow do we end violence against women? One answer is through art, storytelling, and action. In What Creates Change?, hear the stories of survivors of violence along with staff and volunteers of Sakhi for South Asian Women. In this short film, for which I served as Executive Producer, we offered elements of change including allies, courage, determination, self-reflection, and faith. This film, with photography by Fariba Alam and music courtesy of Karsh Kale, has been presented at community and organizational events to further community action on ending violence. The films I developed at Sakhi opened up stories to end violence while furthering specific policy change on language access in the courts. By charting struggles and the power of transformation, we see how together we can create change.

1 Burling Tiger PSPublic Writing, Public Libraries

It takes a community to create community art. In May 2015, partnering with Grin City Collective, I created poems after connecting with community members & library staffs in 3 Iowa towns: Grinnell (Burling Library), Marshalltown, and Cedar Falls. We placed my poems, spun from interviews and my observations, on vinyl on library windows. See poetry, see the world. In exciting community involvement, the Marshalltown Library chose to have 10 Myanmar Cloudsmy poem appear in Spanish and Myanmar to reach its diverse communities. Thank you to Veronica Guevara for the initial Spanish translation I riffed on2 Burling Level and to Joan Jaimes for double-checking me! Thank you to Pandora for her Myanmar translation. Thank you to all the amazing community members (adults, teens, and kids!) & library staffs who shared their stories with me: together we can keep creating the world we want to see.

18 CF Ghost Hunter