Workshops and Classes

Anacostia Arts Center Climate and Actions: Storytelling with Saris

Photo courtesy of Monica Jahan Bose.

Photo courtesy of Monica Jahan Bose.

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Workshops: Saturdays May 30 and June 6 from 11am to 2pm

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Anacostia Arts Center announces an exhibition and series of workshops addressing climate change by artist and activist Monica Jahan Bose.  This site-specific installation is a cumulative exhibition of printmaking on saris and paper, which evolves as participants create art on saris pledging to reduce their carbon footprint. The exhibition is part of Storytelling with Saris, a multi-layered collaborative art and advocacy project that uses woodblock prints on saris, writing, performance, and video to address women’s empowerment in the face of climate change in a remote Bangladeshi island linked to the artist’s heritage.

The exhibition includes Bose’s new series of woodblock and combination prints on paper based on climate themes, along with collaborative block-printed and painted saris created by Bose and 12 women from her ancestral village, Katakhali.  Also presented in the exhibition are photographs from Bose’s critically-acclaimed performances using the saris.

In the gallery window, Bose will interact with viewers and lead a series of workshops using iPads and woodblocks to facilitate actions to address climate change. Viewers are invited to write and print on saris their personal stories and pledges to reduce carbon footprint. These saris will be added to the exhibition during the course of the month-long show. The workshops will culminate in a public performance in fall 2015 using the pledge saris, which will later be returned to Bangladesh to be worn by coastal women.

Through Climate and Actions, Bose merges art and advocacy to activate individual awareness and actions to combat climate change.  Bose says, “Through art, I want to reach people on an emotional level by connecting them to coastal people in Bangladesh. As an American, I feel responsible for doing something about climate change because we have played a huge role in contributing to the problem.  As a Bangladeshi, I am in a unique position to show the world the terrible impact of climate change on the country that is likely to suffer the most harm.”

About the artist: Monica Jahan Bose is a Bangladeshi-American artist, lawyer, and activist based in Washington, DC and Bangladesh. Her work includes painting, printmaking, video, installation, and performance, as well as advocacy on women’s issues and the environment. She studied art at Wesleyan University and Santiniketan, India, and has a law degree from Columbia University. In addition to more than 20 years working as a visual artist, Bose has founded and run several non-profits and practiced and taught environmental and human rights law. She has exhibited her artwork extensively in the US, Bangladesh, France, Japan, and India. Her paintings were recently selected to represent the US in “1 in 3,” the World Bank’s global exhibition on gender-based violence, which featured 30 international artists. In 2014, she was invited to present Storytelling with Saris at the US EPA, the Brooklyn Museum, the Edward M. Kennedy Center in Bangladesh, and SELECT during Art Basel-Miami Beach. In February 2015, she exhibited her work at the Bangladesh National Museum. Bose serves on the board of Samhati, a US-based Bangladeshi women’s organization that creates small projects focused on ecology and literacy to empower low-income women in Bangladesh. She is also a boardmember of the New York-based South Asian Women’s Creative Collective.

In 2014, she received two grants from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which is partially supported by the National Endowment on the Arts.  The DCCAH grants are supporting this exhibition.

Details at monicajahanbose.com and storytellingwithsaris.com.

Anacostia Arts Center is located at  1231 Good Hope Road SE.

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