Ali Asgar (Tara) | In Between Lands and Territories: Love, Loss and Survival

Lecture | October 15 | 5-7 p.m. | 10 Stephens Hall

 Ali Asgar (Tara), Transdisciplinary artist and cultural producer

 Lawrence Cohen, Professor in Anthropology and South and Southeast Asian Studies and the co-director of the Medical Anthropology Program

 Institute for South Asia Studies, The Subir & Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies, The South Asia Art Initiative, Arts Research Center

Join us for a talk by Ali Asgar (Tara), a transdisciplinary artist and cultural producer whose work focuses primarily on the body and the relationship between body and space.

Ali (Tara) Asgar's performance brings together art, activism, and research, drawing on their experience within LGBTQ community in Bangladesh and transnationally, and opening new ways of thinking with questions of trauma and of pleasure, of travel and of xenophobia, of home and of love.

Ali (Tara) describes their work in this way:

This paper/ presentation is a look back into the last seven years of my art and activism juxtaposed against a radicalized reading of queer desire and pleasure.

I ask how as a queer of color can one investigate desire, love, and pleasure? Can we think philosophically through our lives, our belonging and our non-belonging, our wanting a romantic connection, our building, perhaps, a sense of home in different lands? In an age of anti-immigration and of a digitized economy in which victimhood may become a market, how might we comprehend our agency?

I conduct extensive research through a method of "rambling," of wandering between events, spaces, and people. I link theory with the feelings of history, language, archive, and identity. I discuss my practice of art, exploring how to process trauma and vulnerability when life as a queer of color is in constant need of validation from institutions, including those regulating migration.

I ask how it may be possible to create and to thrive in response to such existential challenges.

Speaker Bio
Born in Bangladesh, Ali Asgar (Tara) is a transdisciplinary artist and cultural producer whose work focuses primarily on the body and the relationship between body and space. Asgar’s early work and activism were around the areas of gender, sexuality, and social norms, which often reflects upon their personal struggle and experience of growing up in conservative Bangladeshi patriarchal society and its attitude toward members of the LGBTQI community. The controversial and politically charged nature of Asgar’s work—exploring gender and eroticism—exposed them to significant risk in their home city of Dhaka, where Asgar staged provocative street performances and gallery exhibitions intentionally designed to challenge the conservative sexual mores of the culture. Isolation and displacement play a key role in Asgar’s current works and thought process. As an artist whose provocative art and personal identity placed them at extreme risk, Asgar was awarded a prestigious fellowship from the Artist Protection Fund in 2016. Asgar is currently working on an MFA in Performance at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Read more about the artist HERE

Event is FREE and OPEN to the public.

Established in 2013 with a generous gift from the Subir & Malini Chowdhury Foundation, The Subir & Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies at UC Berkeley champions the study of Bangladesh’s cultures, peoples and history. The first of its kind in the US, the Center’s mission is to create an innovative model combining research, scholarships, the promotion of art and culture, and the building of ties between institutions in Bangladesh and the University of California.

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Please note that parking in not always easily available in Berkeley. Take public transportation if possible or arrive early to secure your spot.

We are located at 10 Stephens Hall on UC Berkeley's campus. Please click this Google Maps Link and enter your point of departure., 510-642-3608