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The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) presents a conversation with Professor Grace Aneiza Ali (NYU Art & Public Policy), editor of the new publication Liminal Spaces: Migration and Women of the Guyanese Diaspora, and three of its contributors, artists Maya Mackrandilal and Suchitra Mattai and writer Maria del Pilar Kaladeen.
The conversation, moderated by Professor Aisha Khan (NYU Anthropology), will expand on Indian narratives of migration in the Guyanese Diaspora featured in the book and the role of art in telling our migration stories.
Liminal Spaces: Migration and Women of the Guyanese Diaspora, edited by Grace Aneiza Ali is published by Open Book Publishers (Cambridge, UK, 2020). Its open access edition is freely available to read and download here.
Co-sponsored by Asian/Pacific/American Institute and NYU Institute of African American Affairs & Center for Black Visual Culture.
About the Book:
Liminal Spaces is an intimate exploration into the migration narratives of fifteen women of Guyanese heritage. It spans diverse inter-generational perspectives – from those who leave Guyana, and those who are left – and seven seminal decades of Guyana’s history – from the 1950s to the present day – bringing the voices of women to the fore. The volume is conceived of as a visual exhibition on the page; a four-part journey navigating the contributors’ essays and artworks, allowing the reader to trace the migration path of Guyanese women from their moment of departure, to their arrival on diasporic soils, to their reunion with Guyana.
Eloquent and visually stunning, Liminal Spaces unpacks the global realities of migration, challenging and disrupting dominant narratives associated with Guyana, its colonial past, and its post-colonial present as a ‘disappearing nation’. Multimodal in approach, the volume combines memoir, creative non-fiction, poetry, photography, art and curatorial essays to collectively examine the mutable notion of ‘homeland’, and grapple with ideas of place and accountability.
This volume is a welcome contribution to the scholarly field of international migration, transnationalism, and diaspora, both in its creative methodological approach, and in its subject area – as one of the only studies published on Guyanese diaspora. It will be of great interest to those studying women and migration, and scholars and students of diaspora studies.
About the Speakers:
Grace Aneiza Ali is a Curator and an Assistant Professor and Provost Fellow in the Department of Art & Public Policy at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University in New York City. Ali’s curatorial research practice centers on socially engaged art practices, global contemporary art, and art of the Caribbean Diaspora, with a focus on her homeland Guyana. She serves as Curator-at-Large for the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute in New York.
Maya Mackrandilal is a multidisciplinary artist and writer based in Los Angeles. She is a mixed-race woman of color with global roots. She received her BA in Studio Art with High Distinction from the University of Virginia and her MFA in Studio Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she was a Jacob K. Javits Fellow. She has shown her artwork nationally and has published essays in art criticism, creative nonfiction, and poetry.
Suchitra Mattai received an MFA in painting and drawing and an MA in South Asian art from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Recent projects include a commission for the Sharjah Biennial 14 and inclusion in “State of the Art 2020” at Crystal Bridges Museum/the Momentary. Her work has been reviewed in publications and on-line platforms such as Hyperallergic, Document Journal, Widewalls, and Cultured Magazine, and is in the collections of Crystal Bridges Museum and the Denver Art Museum.
Maria del Pilar Kaladeen was born and lives in London. She is an Associate Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in London working on the system of indenture in Guyana and its representation in literature. She is the co-editor of We Mark Your Memory the first international anthology on the system of indenture in the British Empire. Her life-writing has been published in Wasafiri and the anthology Mother Country: Real Stories of the Windrush Children, which was longlisted for the Jhalak Prize in 2019. Maria’s next book, The Other Windrush, is an edited collection of life writing about the experiences of Chinese- and Indian-Caribbean Windrush era migrants to the UK. It will be published by Pluto Press in June 2021.
Aisha Khan (Moderator), is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at New York University. Her research interests focus on race and racial formations, religion, and Atlantic world diasporas (particularly Asian and African). Her books include Callaloo Nation: Metaphors of Race and Religious Identity among South Asians in Trinidad (Duke University Press), Islam and the Americas (University Press of Florida), and The Deepest Dye: Obeah, Hosay, and Race in the Atlantic World (Harvard University Press, in press). She received her PhD in anthropology from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her recent fellowships and awards include an NEH Fellowship, an NEH Summer Stipend Grant, a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University fellowship, NYU's Martin Luther King, Jr. Award, and NYU's Golden Dozen Teaching Award. She also received a Choice Outstanding Academic Book Award for Women Anthropologists (University of Illinois Press)