In 2012 – 2013, I visualized, produced and curated a Voices Breaking Boundaries' living room art production, Homes and Histories. The production explored parallels between the first township (Freedmen’s Town, a pocket of homes next to Houston’s downtown) created by Texas’ freed slaves and Pakistan’s Baloch/Makrani community, who are descendants of slaves brought to the South Asian coastline from east Africa.
I intended for the production to be launched in a Freedmen’s town residential home, but I couldn’t find a house to host the production, so I worked with a team of Houston artists to decorate and perform on Freedmen’s Town’s streets. At daybreak on the day of the show, a group of friends installed a metal dome, which we borrowed from Free Press Summer Fest. We decorated the dome with fabrics that I had purchased in Karachi.
I also worked with layout artist Joshua Turner to publish a catalogue that includes an essay by me, “The Story Behind the Stories,” as well as visual artists and writers in Houston as well as Karachi.
Video-dome created by fabrics from Sehba Sarwar's Houston home and installed by volunteers; photo by Burnell McCray
Voices Breaking Boundaries had been receiving funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for Homes and Histories.
A month after the production, NEA representatives invited me to share my process of creating new work at NEA’s panel at the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) conference.
ADDITIONAL MATERIALS FOR HOMES & HISTORIES:
Homes and Histories was made possible through the support of: the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Houston Endowment, Inc.; Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities; National Endowment for the Arts; The Simmons Foundation; & Texas Commission on the Arts. VBB receives funding support from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.
Ongoing & Additional Projects
I am an author and speaker, an artist, and a community and cultural activist.
If I can use my talents and passions to inspire you or your network to push boundaries and become involved in our communities, please connect with me. I am open to schedule readings, workshops, courses or multimedia installations.Universities and non-profit organizations based in Texas can apply for Texas Commission on the Arts grants to fund Sarwar’s workshops, readings and/or installations since she serves on the Texas Touring Roster.