Here are some sketches I made during the performances at Kaya Press’ Mehfil Massive event at USC. Organized by Neelanjana Banerjee, with D’Lo as the host who presented DJ Bandish Projekt, Amarnath Ravva, Salman Ahmad of Junoon, Kazim Ali, Brooklyn Shanti, Robin Sukhadia aka Tablapusher, Tarfia Faizullah, Gingger Shankar, Bhanu Kapil, Mandeep Sethi, Raginder “Violinder”, Crowned Kinglsy, Jordan Palmer and Tabla Vadak.
It is inspiring to see the dedication of these students of all ages performing with such poise, delicacy, grace and fierceness. I enjoyed this window into a tradition that has evolved over centuries, and today these dancers from Los Angeles, are still connected to dance forms practiced in Temples centuries ago.
It’s tough to capture poses in such quick movement, but I did manage some watercolor sketches, and an attempt to capture the energy they shared.
I went to a great music show called Devi Fair, at the Witzend. The lineup was incredible, and I ran out of paper before the last two acts went on, so I didn’t get a chance to sketch them. Here are some sketches of Manisha Shahane, Dawn Norfleet, Avari, Pranidhi Varshi, Clinton Patterson, Sheela Bringi, Neelamjit Dhillon and Ben Shepard. I didn’t get a chance to sketch Bhavana Reddy or Sheela Govindarajan, but do check out their beautiful music too.
I went to a concert of Amjad Sabri, performing qawwali with his group in Los Angeles. Here are some watercolor sketches from during the performance.
I am proud to announce that my art prints are now available at Convergence World Boutique in Cerritos, CA. Convergence is a cool store with socially conscious products and art. Stop by and pick up some of my 11″x14″ prints, Gul DVD/CD combos and Girnari Jogi Group CD/DVD combos.
I joined rHope at Royal Cup Cafe in Long Beach, thanks to Raj. There was a beautiful gallery opening with photography by Nate Lubben, collage by Tabala Jala Thomas, poetry by Cristie Bennett and music by John “Fingaz” Caldwell and friends. The music kept me moving, and it was a lot of fun to talk to people with all kinds of talents and interests. I met Hamid of the Callaloo Caribbean Kitchen, and along with Royal Cup, it seems there’s another place I have to stop by for some food in Long Beach!
Thank you for a great night and for supporting the Girnari Jogi Group!
Last night I enjoyed painting at the Totally Radical Muslims Zine launch at the Last Bookstore in Los Angeles thanks to Taz Ahmed and Writ Large Press. It was a release for the second issue of the zine, entitled “Voices of Fired Resistance.” It featured stories by diverse muslims. The night featured a great lineup of poetry, prose, music and dance, and challenged ideas of what constitutes a muslim. I’m proud of the reclamation of identity, and the adjustment to what it means to be totally radical. I hate the term Islamist, as it brands the madness propagated by horrible people on both sides of a disgusting war as being representative of over a billion muslims worldwide. We are a diverse group of individuals from different cultural backgrounds, varying interpretations of religious values and various gender identities and orientations. Let no one else define us, but ourselves. Thanks to Taz for hosting and inviting me to take part. These were very quick sketches, during a succession of inspiring, short performances.