Creativity and Change

Politics, culture, and mythology come together in Chitra Ganesh’s exhibition of art, whose works were the focus of a gallery walk-through and talk co-hosted by ASNC and San Francisco’s Gallery Wendi Norris. Based in Brooklyn, New York, Ganesh produced works of art for the exhibition, entitled “Protest Fantasies,” that memorialize and celebrate some of the most iconic socio-political protest movements from around the world. According to Ganesh, she is inspired by how “creativity makes change happen” and believes that creativity is “not superficial but integral to change, and change often manifests through art.”

Her work Pussy Riot (2015), based on a photo of the eponymous all-women activists from Russia, celebrates this synergy between creativity and change. Drawn to their immersion in Russia’s punk rock music scene, Ganesh captures Pussy Riot’s use of art and fashion as a vehicle for their socio-political messages. Ganesh further draws from her Indian heritage by marrying Hindu mythologies of multi-armed gods in her reinterpretation of the photo.

Ganesh seizes on the symbols of social protests throughout her work. In Action Plan (2015), the gas mask shrouded subject is surrounded by photos of protests that have taken place around the world, such as the “Black Lives Matter” demonstrations against police brutality in the U.S. and protests in support of garment workers’ rights in South Asia. The exaggerated hands in Action Plan symbolize how hands have become a symbol for many of these protests, either raised in defiance, waving in sync, or contorted as messages.

“Protest Fantasies” by Chitra Ganesh will be on display until October 31 at Gallery Wendi Norris.