Desh Pardesh 1995
This page has clips exploring the contemporary context in Toronto.
In the following clip, Shelly Bahl discusses the Toronto cultural scene during the years 1993 and 1995, in between which she was living in New York for school. She uses her experience in New York as a point of comparison as she describes Toronto’s cultural scene.
SB: It was like a whole other world. Because, when I first heard about Desh, I mean, in the art program, first at York University then NYU, we had zero exposure to any artists of colour. I mean unless you took a historical, art history class on South Asian historical work. You had no exposure or comprehension that there was any sort of living art being made and its relationship with contemporary practice. (0:06:38) So, it was just, a very intense and beautiful kind of education. Because, there were artists and activists and very progressive politics all kind of rolled together and I had zero exposure to that, even as an undergrad, even in an art department. Interestingly enough, even coming to New York immediately after participating, there was nothing like that even in New York. So, I had like this little taste, of this very progressive arts and politics, activist scene and I'd get to New York and its pretty, pretty close to non existent. I went looking for something like that. The only thing I found was, because I wanted to become more involved with organizations because I thought that that was a way to build a community and also ways in which to present the work that we were making. So, in New York, there was a group called Godzilla which is an Asian American arts network but I believe there were only a very small handful of South Asian artists involved with it. I went searching high and low for like a very progressive radical kind of art practices being done by the South Asian community in New York and it just wasn't happening.