23 Feb, 2018


23 Feb, 2018

Photo by Vicente Lozano

Three weeks have passed since I performed On Belonging inside the Menil Collection’s Byzantine Fresco Chapel and set up the installation on the tree outside the chapel. My time in Houston was a blur, especially since after I landed in Pasadena, I succumbed to a round of the flu.

Now recovering after 10 days of being sick, I have finally uploaded photographs from my performances and my installation —thanks to Paul Hester, Beena Sarwar, René Rodriguez, Vicente Lozano, and Tony Martinez. For everyone who helped and attended — thank you!

In the program that was distributed three weekends ago, I listed acknowledgements, which I am pasting below.  I know I’m still missing some names, but this is a start. I couldn’t have done the performance and installation without your help!

Many thanks to: Franci Neely for her generous support over the last two decades, and for helping to make sure that I have a home in Houston; the Menil staff with whom I’ve worked for more than 20 years, including Michelle White for inviting me to perform, Rebecca Rabinow for suggesting the Chapel, and tedd Bale and Tony Martinez for juggling my requests; Anjum Jafri, Zakia Sarwar, and Stephanie Chapman for stitching the ajrak; all the friends who distributed and collected cards for me: Venitia Boyce, Misbah Dadabhoy, Marcela Descalzi, Oui Chatwara S. Duran, Aisha Gazdar, Kishwar Jaffer, Genny Joshi, Minerva Laveaga, Vince E. Lee, Emmy Perez & Britt Haraway, Adrienne Perry, Beena Sarwar, Zakia Sarwar, Sukhada Tatke & Didier Devaurs, Anita Wadhwa, Lauren Zentz, and to family, friends, and strangers who took time to reflect, draw, and write on cards; Jordan Astrich and Copy.Com staff for printing support; Angela Martinez and Courtney Roberts at Black & Gray for creating a shiny new website for me, and to Amanda Brown for helping me fine-tune the language; Anjum Jafri for hosting my family; my amazing family and friends for recording their voices: René Rodriquez, Minal Saldivar, René Saldivar, Beena Sarwar, Zakia Sarwar, Sophie Simons, Yaksha Shah, Jaspal Subhlok, Marina Tristán, and Liliana Valenzuela; Shannon Garth-Rhodes, Rich Levy, Vicente Lozano, and Marina Tristán for offering critical feedback to help me polish my script; my fabulous cousins Aisha Gazdar and Haris Gazdar in Karachi for purchasing the ajraks, and to Kishwar Jaffer for stuffing her suitcases with the fabric; Samina Mahmood for helping me install; Paul Hester and Karen Martinez for indispensable documentation so my project lives beyond today and the next few weeks; Voices Breaking Boundaries’ Board from A to Z—Carmen Abrego Peña, Yolanda Alvarado, Terri Arellano, Oui Chatwara S. Duran, and Lauren Zentz—for making sure we celebrate; Vicente Lozano and Liliana Valenzuela for traveling from afar to attend; Christa Forster and Marina Tristán for helping me fine-tune my performance; Oskar Sonnen, my BFF, for his brilliance and support in every step of the way; my mother Zakia Sarwar for trusting me with her story, for being present, and for helping with my installation; my sister Beena Sarwar for flying to Houston to document my work, and for helping with my installation and in so many other ways; my daughter Minal Saldivar for writing and sharing her first original song for me; my husband René Saldivar for offering space, feedback, and emotional support as I developed my project, and for disrupting his schedule to be present for me; and all my family members and friends around the globe (too many to name here) for love, support, and for letting me know that I belong everywhere.

Photo by Paul Hester