A multidisciplinary project by Sehba Sarwar

On Belonging

Through my On Belonging multidisciplinary project, I explore my life as transnational citizen alongside my family’s history of migration and displacement.

2:00 – 4:00 pm | SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 3 & SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2018

My live performance beneath an oak tree on the Menil campus is interspersed with voices recordings by my mother, daughter, husband, and comments extracted from survey response cards completed by more than 350 community members in six cities. The On Belonging installation introduces viewers to writings and drawings that dangle tree limbs that will be wrapped with ajrak fabric from my home city, Karachi, Sindh (Pakistan)—the ajrak design is also claimed by residents in Gujarat, India.

On Belonging will be launched in February 2018 at Houston’s Menil Collection campus to complement artist Mona Hatoum’s 2017-18 art exhibition Terra Infirma and will remain on view on the Menil campus until February 25, 2018.

Comment cards were completed in Boston, Houston, Karachi, Los Angeles, Montreal, Washington DC by participants whose mothers were born in countries including Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Canada, China, Ethiopia, France, Guyana, Haiti, Hawaii, Indonesia, India, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, USSR, and USA. As of December 2017, only five participants reside in the same location as their mothers’ birth cities.  

Menil Collection event announcementRead More »
Menil Collection Facebook invitationRead More »
Mona Hatoum’s Terra Infirma exhibitionRead More »

On Belonging has been supported in part by the Menil Collection; Mid-America Arts Alliance, the National Endowment for the Arts, Texas Commission on the Arts, and foundations, corporations and individuals throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. The project was developed through my 2012-14 residency with the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts and through my work with Voices Breaking Boundaries.


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.

Sehba Sarwar Art Car