Screening & Discussion: 3rd i NY & SALGA-NYC, Inc. Present: South Asian Diasporas and the Politics of Sexuality

Wed, August 10, 2011 7:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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$5-$10 Suggested Donation (no one will be turned away)
Doors Open 6:30pm

Screening of Coconut/Cane and Cutlass directed by Michelle Mahobeer and Cane/Cain directed by Jordache A. Ellapen.

Screening will be followed by a discussion session and Q&A with Jordache A. Ellapen and Svati P. Shah.

About the Films:

Coconut/Cane & Cutlass (1994, 30 mins) weaves a rich lyrical tapestry of imagery shot on location in Guyana melded with dramatic scenes shot in Toronto to communicate a complex, lyrical and touching rumination on exile and displacement. Narrated from the point of view of a mixed race Indo-Caribbean lesbian, "the exile" (and filmmaker) who immigrated to Canada as a young girl, this beautiful film explores personal experiences of identity as they relate to colonial and sexual oppression.

Cane/Cain (2011, 15 mins) is set against the backdrop of recent xenophobic attacks. We encounter two men from totally different worlds. Aben, an Indian South African who owns a take-away restaurant in the predominantly Muslim community of Fordsburg, and Tariq, a Pakistani immigrant who makes a living selling freshly ground sugar-cane juice from a street corner. The sugar cane connects the two men – Aben haunted by his childhood memories in the sugar cane fields of Tongaat and Tariq, a recent migrant, representative of new hierarchies of labor (and class) in South Africa.

That distance is shattered when one Friday afternoon, as the community prays in the mosque, an angry mob heads towards the exposed and terrified Tariq. As Aben watches through the safety of his shop, the mob attacks Tariq swiftly, ruthlessly. Their eyes meet fleetingly….This violence brings them together. Riddled by guilt, by desire, by the need to heal, Aben reaches out to Tariq. As the night ensues, these two men discover a common language of communication; Aben is transposed back to the sugar cane fields, the tumbling of bodies, of laughter and joy - memories of Cane, and the traumas of adolescence. The night is one of catharsis, but as daylight breaks, and Aben wakes to an empty bed, the call to prayer highlights the beginning of a new day, a day like all the rest, or perhaps, not quite…

About the Discussants:

Jordache A. Ellapen has graduate degrees from both Wits University and New York University. He is currently a PhD candidate at Indiana University, department of African-American and African Diaspora studies where he is completing his PhD. His research interests include South African and African cinemas, Diaspora Studies and Visual Culture. His research is concerned with examining the “Indian experience” in South Africa and representations of identity in the post-apartheid context, as mediated through various visual art practices. Cane/Cain (2011) is his first short film which explores the intersections of migration, desire and sexuality. Cane/Cain premiered at the Durban International Film Festival in 2011.

Svati P. Shah is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her book on sex work and the informal sector in Mumbai will be published by Duke University Press in 2012. Her research interests include the political economy of sexuality in South Asia, sexuality based social movements, critical geography, and transnational feminist and queer studies. In addition to her research, she also serves as a board member for Queers for Economic Justice (NYC), and is a member of the Astraea Foundation for Justice's International Advisory Board.

About the Presenting Organizations

The South Asian Lesbian & Gay Association of New York City, Inc (SALGA-NYC, Inc.) serves to promote awareness, tolerance, acceptance, empowerment and safe spaces for sexual minorities and people of all gender identities, who trace their heritage to South Asia or who identify as South Asian. Our mission is to enable community members to establish cultural visibility and take a stand against oppression and discrimination in all its forms. We pledge to encourage leadership development, provide multi-generational support, work towards immigration advocacy, address health issues such as HIV / AIDS, and foster political involvement in the interest of creating a more tolerant society.

About 3rd i NY

3rd I New York’s monthly film/video/media salon is designed by local filmmakers and cultural producers to showcase the works of independent media makers of South Asian, Central Asian, and Arab descent. Providing alternative forums for these filmmakers who often have few venues to showcase their work and whose cultures and histories are often demonized or misrepresented in mainstream media, not only increases their visibility, but also provides a social forum for peers and audiences to participate in an ongoing discussion.

Our Sponsors

3rdi NY Film Programming is made possible in part by the Fund for Creative Communities, supported by NYSCA and administered by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Alwan for the Arts hosts our monthly screenings series. We are thankful to the SINGH Foundation for acting as our fiscal sponsor.

Last updated: 2011-09-12 10:53:32

Coconut/Cane & Cutlass
Coconut/Cane & Cutlass

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