My father Dr. Mohammad Sarwar, a recognized leader and activist, struggled with cancer for two years before passing away in May 2009.
Six months later, in an attempt to process my loss, I created a living room art production, Honoring Dissent/Descent, at my Houston home that drew more than 400 visitors, including activist Sissy Farenthold, arts leader Alice Valdez, Houston’s Pakistani Consul General and many more.
Ten artists in Houston and Karachi participated in the project, including my sister filmmaker and journalist Beena Sarwar, and artist Rosie Bustamante, daughter of Chicano activist Daniel Bustamante. In an altar that I created collaboratively at my fireplace, community members placed objects in memory of their loved ones.
I transformed my study into a site-specific installation, "Listening from Within," which included photographs, my father's published writings, a bed decorated with red rose petals, and audio recordings from a Karachi memorial service with speeches and songs dedicated to my father.
This production inspired me to initiate a new wave of living room art productions that transformed residential homes in neighborhoods around Houston and for which my organization, Voices Breaking Boundaries, was awarded numerous grant awards.
All of her [Sehba’s] projects come from the personal and, although What is Home? has grown to include not just her own stories, but also those of others—the sense of urgency with which she works to preserve memories, voices, and stories comes from an entirely intimate and personal place.
— “Meaning & Memory: Sehba Sarwar Explores Home.” Arts & Culture Magazine, March 2015. LINK
Ongoing & Additional Projects
I am an author, educator, speaker, 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 offer a range of services including: readings, workshops, courses, or multidisciplinary performances/installations. I look forward to hearing from you!