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Past Events
How We Started

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VBB’s Second Decade: 2010-11


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Fall 2010

a vbb special fundraiser
Art for Flood Relief

Flood Relief

5:00 - 7:30 pm, Sunday, September 19, 2010
Eldorado Ballroom (Project Row Houses Campus), 2310 Elgin, Houston, TX 77004
$ pay what you can; 100 % of proceeds will go toward flood relief efforts in Pakistan; Houston-based visual artists are invited to donate their artwork to be sold on the spot!

Since late July and well into September, Pakistan’s River Indus has experienced heavy flooding causing almost 2,000 deaths and seriously impacting the lives of nearly 20 million people along the 800 mile-long riverbank. Even once the water recedes, people in Pakistan will continue to struggle to deal with the heavy loss of lives, agriculture, infrastructure, and growing illnesses. VBB is collaborating with organizations around Houston, Pakistan and India, to raise funds towards flood relief efforts in Pakistan. The fundraiser evening, aimed at raising awareness about the situation in Pakistan, features:

• audio recordings by journalists, artists and organizations from Pakistan including fresh videos by Taimur Rahman of LAAL, a Pakistani band that just released a new song in honor of those affected by the floods; recordings by novelists Mohammed Hanif and Sorayya Khan; and images from Designers United for a Cause (D.U.C.K Karachi), The Second Floor (T2F), and artist Ilona Yusuf;

• video recordings from journalists, artists and organizations from India, including Satyen K. Bordoloi, Aman Kay Bhadatay Kadam (A People's March for Peace), One World South Asia and Sangat;

DJ AV will spin the discs and videos; and

• Houston's Pakistan Consul General will be available to answer questions.

As always, VBB will serve food, drinks and there will be an opportunity to mix, mingle and gain more information about the situation in Pakistan. All funds from the evening will go toward Pakistani non-profits, Karachi Relief Trust, Omar Asghar Khan Development Foundation and the Pakistan Medical Association. Please join us! (If you cannot attend, but would like to still donate, please send a check to VBB – and clearly mark "For Flood Relief"). You can also go to Helping Hands/ Relief for Pakistan website and bring listed items for donation.

This event is co-sponsored by FotoFest, Houston Institute for Culture, Houston Indymedia, Houston Peace and Justice Center, MECA, Pakistan Association of Greater Houston, UH Pakistan Student Association, and Pacifica Radio KPFT 90.1 FM. Special thanks to Project Row Houses for the use of the Eldorado Ballroom and to Sissy Farenthold, Josef Helfenstein, M.J.Khan and Lorraine Wulfe for their support.

Read Sehba Sarwar's op-ed published on 9/12/10 at the Houston Chronicle; Read Houston's Chronicle's editorial publlshed 9/13/10.

For an update of the event, click here.

a vbb living room art production
Women’s Voices: Alice Valdez and Sheema Kermani

Womens Voices

Featuring video, performance and installations by Aisha Gazdar, Vanessa Cerda, Sheherzad Kaleem, Diana Muñiz, Sehba Sarwar, Yunuen Perez Vertti, Gypsy Walker, and Gwen Zepeda
8 pm, Saturday, November 6, 2010
Home of Larissa Lindsay and Stuart Bailey
$ Free

VBB is an organization that has long recognized and learned from individuals who have taken risks by speaking out. This fall, VBB’s season will kick off with Women’s Voices, a new production from our much-loved living room art series that will take place in a historical 1888 Houston home located in Sixth Ward, just around the corner from the Multicultural Education and Counseling Center for the Arts (MECA). The show will recognize the services provided by the arts center and the leadership role played by MECA’s Founding Director and latina icon, Alice Valdez, who has given voice to many Houston artists including Gwen Zepeda and Vanessa Cerda, who will both perform at the event. Like all VBB living room art productions, Women’s Voices will parallel issues of Houston neighborhoods with those in Pakistan. This year, the production will shed light on art and community activism in Pakistan through a documentary by Sheherzad Kaleem about a grassroots Karachi-based arts organization, Tehrik-e-Niswan, led by dancer/actress Sheema Kermani. Included in the production will be a documentary by Aisha Gazdar about Pakistan’s Women’s Action Forum, a protest group that grew during the 1980s while Pakistan was run under the US supported right-wing military dictatorship of General Zia. The evening will feature installations by Sehba Sarwar, Diana Muñiz, Gypsy Walker, Larissa Lindsay and Yunuen Perez Vertti. Also part of the experience will be an open mic and altar, so all are encouraged to bring words to share. As always, there will be music, food, drinks, and surprises. Please join us!

This show is cosponsored by Arte Público Press, Geo TV (Pakistan), Houston Institute for Culture, Pacifica Radio KPFT 90.1 FM and  Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. VBB’s living room art productions are produced by Sehba Sarwar and the shows aim to juxtaposing joys, struggles and cultures in the US and in Pakistan.

For an update of the event, click here.



Poetry Reading with Nigerian Poet and Journalist Obi Nwakanma


Monday, February 7, 2010 at 7 PM
Presented by the Departments of History and English, University of Houston
Houston Institute for Culture
East End Studio Gallery (next to Bohemeo's)
708-C Telephone Road, Houston, TX 77023  

Acclaimed poet and journalist Obi Nwakanma, the author of the recent biography Christopher Okigbo 1930-67: Thirsting for Sunlight, reads from his award-winning books of poetry, The Roped Urn (winner of the Association of Nigerian Authors’ Cadbury Prize) and The Horsemen and Other Poems. A question and answer period will follow the reading, and audience members will be able to purchase books to be signed by the author. 

Cosponsored by The Houstoun Fund, Voices Breaking Boundaries, the University of Houston’s African American Studies Program, The Center for Public History, Objectif Magazine, and the Houston Institute for Culture. 


Spring 2011

a vbb east end live art production
What's Color Got To Do With It? Talking About Interracial Relationships


Featuring Samina Mahmood, Gunjen Mittal, Michelle Sam, Sehba Sarwar, Jacsun Shah, Yunuen Perez Vertti
5:00 pm Sunday, January 30, 2011
Houston Institute for Culture, 708-C Telephone Road, Houston, TX 77023
$ Free

VBB is excited to present What's Color Got To Do With It? A Spotlight on Interracial Couples, the kick off event for the 2011 East End Live Art Series. Featuring members of VBB's programming committee: Samina Mahmood, Gunjen Mittal, Michelle Sam, Sehba Sarwar, Jacsun Shah and Yunuen Perez Vertti and their partners, the show will explore the many sides of interracial relationships from the perspective of women who are in them. The evening will be hosted by VBB Program Coordinator, Selina Pishori. There will be an open mic! Bring your voices. This event is cosponsored by KPFT Pacifica Radio 90.1 FM, Generasian Radio, Houston Institute for Culture, and Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.

a vbb fundraiser
Valiente Award ::  Bapsi Sidhwa


5:00 pm, Saturday, March 5, 2011
Home of Rufi and Raj Natarajan


Every few years Voices Breaking Boundaries honors an artist who has taken risks to speak out. Past recipients include Rubén Martinez, Farnoosh Moshiri and Mel Chin. This year, VBB will honor Bapsi Sidhwa, an award winning Pakistani novelist striving above all to bring women's issues of the Indian subcontinent into public discussion. The evening will include a reading by Bapsi Sidhwa, videos, live music, food, and much more. Save the date and stay tuned to our site for details.

About Bapsi Sidhwa: Born and raised in Lahore, Sidhwa has resided in Houston for some time and served on VBB’s first Board when we incorporated in 2001; she is serving currently on VBB's Advisory Board. Sidhwa, who has performed at many VBB events including our Words for Peace productions, is the author of five novels—Cracking India, The Pakistani Bride, The Crow Eaters, An American Brat, and Water—and many other essays and short stories. Her works have been translated and published in several languages. Among her many honors Sidhwa received the Bunting Fellowship at Radcliffe/Harvard, the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, Pakistan's highest national honor in the arts, and the 2007 Primo Mondello Award in Italy. Sidhwa, who was on the advisory committee to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on Women's Development has taught at many universities including Columbia University, Mount Holyoke College and the University of Houston.

Committee members (as of 3/1/2011)

Host Committee: Gayle De Guerin, Sissy Farenthold, Georgia + Mike Foulard, Emily + Zach Haines, Anwer + Asma Hussain, Shahnaz + Tariq Kureshy, Aqil + Tehsina Nadeem, Faisal + Tehmina Masud, Beverly + Howard Robinson, Sally + Bill Russ, Salma + Riaz Siddiqi, Dorothee Sauter + Josef Helfenstein, Diana Strassmann and Jeff Smisek

Sponsor Committee: Hosam Aboul-Ela, Lucy Anderson, Margot Backus, Marc Grossberg, Terrell James + Cameron Armstrong, Melaney Linton, Mehnaz Shafi + Muzaffar Qazilbash, Mike + Judith Peterson, Mary Jane Petrick, Tauseef Salma, Liz Chiao + Raul Ramos, Sehba Sarwar + René Saldivar, Kathy Watkins + Robin Harrison, Michael Woodson, Lorraine Wulfe, Mark + Katherine Yzaguirre

Working Committee: Megan Franks, Patricia Fraske, Rich Levy, Aamir Shah, Elora Shehabuddin, Ann Sullivan, Susan Summers, Joshua Turner, Friends of Women’s Studies, Brazos Bookstore

a vbb east end live art production
Teachers and Students Speak Out 3


5 pm, Sunday, April 17, 2011

Houston Institute for Culture, 708-C Telephone Road, Houston, TX 77023
$ Free

Each year VBB hosts an annual East End Live Art production Teachers and Students Speak Out to give voice to overworked, dedicated teachers and students, who participate in VBB’s Writing for Self Discovery workshop. The workshop provides teachers, who teach at-risk students, a space to nurture their creative voices and gain support. Students are also given the chance to express themselves freely through the spoken and written word. This year’s artists/educators include: Keisha Breaker, Sharon Fabriz, Michael Glazner, Lara Heiberg, Shenaz Keshwari. Students will be performing, and long-time education activist Andy Dewey will be available to share his insight to the challenges HISD faces.

The time to listen to writings by Houston-based educators and students has never been more urgent. As people’s protests are on the rise at a global, national and local level, the Texas Senate is making important decisions on budget cuts that will impact the lives of millions in all areas, including education, arts, public health and immigration policies. Against this backdrop, HISD is bracing for major budget cuts that will determine the future of Houston-area youth. Additionally, many teachers who have dedicated years of service to our children are in danger of losing their jobs—the effect of which will significantly increase class sizes while lowering the quality of public education. VBB’s EELA Teachers and Students Speak Out will offer educators, students and our community the opportunity to share art and raise social awareness of the problems facing our educational system today through open discussion.The show is co-curated by VBB’s programming committee, and workshop facilitators Rachel Duvvuri, Marcela Descalzi and Emily Sketch Haines. This event is cosponsored by KPFT Pacifica Radio 90.1 FM and Houston Institute for Culture.

a vbb living room art production
Revisiting the First Ward / Exploring Local Boundaries

7:30 pm Saturday, May 7, 2011
The First Ward Community Garden, 1402 Beachton St, Houston, TX 77007 (corner of Beachton and Edwards St.)
(rain date location: Spring St. Studios, 1824 Spring St, 77007)
$ Free

At VBB’s next living room art production, Revisiting the First Ward / Exploring Local Boundaries, VBB will present I Am First, a documentary by Yunuen Perez Vertti that was commissioned by VBB as a continuation of the dialogue that began at VBB’s May 2010 living room art show in the First Ward when neighborhood boundaries were questioned. The documentary and the evening’s discussion will explore the histories of Houston’s historic wards, how local borders are defined and what those boundaries mean to residents from Houston and beyond. Known for our exploration of local and global issues through art, VBB aims to connect local histories to international issues through our living room art productions, which are partly funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Vertti’s documentary is supported by the Texas Commission on the Arts. The evening includes a panel discussion featuring Michelle Barnes, Raul Ramos PhD, and First Ward residents, photographs by Paul Hester, who has extensively documented Houston’s history, music and continued conversation. As always, there will be open mic, food and drink. All are welcome. This show is cosponsored by KPFT 90.1 FM, Houston Institute for Culture, First Ward Civic Council, and Geo TV (Pakistan).

the Orange Show's Annual Art Car Parade
VBB's Art Car #135: REVOLUTION


Sneak Peek at Discovery Green
1500 McKinney Street, Houston 77010
7:30 - 9 pm, Saturday, May 21, 2011

Art Car Parade
1:00 - 3:00 pm, Sunday, May 22, 2011
Allen Parkway
$ Free

Join the Orange Show's Art Car Parade and view VBB's Art Car, Revolution. The car is decorated with TV screens, Pakistani truck art motifs and images of artists - Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Patti Smith, Iqbal Bano and Liz Alexander - that inspire change. With lyrics from revolutionary poets Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Patti Smith, a microphone, speakers and a boom box, VBB's car-truck is a living space for art, performance, digital art and social action. Revolution is designed by Eric Hester and Sehba Sarwar, who will be joined at the parade by Michael Woodson and Autumn Knight and poets from around the city. Special thanks to artists Abro Khuda Bux and Yunuen Perez Vertti for support in this project.

Houston-area poets are invited to share their voices and words at VBB's Open Mic stand at the Orange Show's Sneak Peek at Discovery Green on Saturday, May 21. Discovery Green poetry participants will be given t-shirts and invited to perform with VBB at the art car parade. Look for car #135!!

Check out pictures from last year's parade.

VBB's Art Car is supported in part by Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and this project is part of VBB’s living room art productions that juxtapose art, culture, joys and struggles experienced in Pakistan and the US.

a vbb east end live art production
Other Loves: Celebrating Queer Artists


6:00 pm, Sunday, June 5, 2011

Houston Institute for Culture, 708-C Telephone Road, Houston, TX 77023
$ Free

Other Loves: Celebrating Queer Artists VBB's final show for the 2011 East End Live Art season will focus on the lives of queer artists, problems facing the queer community, as well as celebration of the work by the queer community. The evening will showcase: an excerpt of Bindiya Chamkay Gi-Bindya Will Shine, a documentary by Pakistani film maker, Ragni Marea Kidvai, about Pakistan's Khwaja Sira or Hijra community; a short film by Stephanie Saint Sanchez called Vilut; a Burlesque style performance by Mister Overdone a.k.a Jennifer Tyburczy and D.R.E.D a.k.a. MilDred Gerestant; performances by Jonatan Lopez and Stalina Villarreal, and Rose Arii. Visual art by clay artist Rob Baker. The show is MC-ed by UH postdoctoral fellow Sima Shakhsari. There will be jewelry and art on sale by crafts-maker, Rene Rodriguez, and as always the evening includes refreshments and drinks alongside a Q&A with the artists after the show.

This event is cosponsored by Queer Voices, Q-Fest, the Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program at UH, KPFT Pacifica Radio 90.1 FM, Rice University Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality, and Houston Institute for Culture.


a living room art production
Returning to Our Roots PARTY!


8:00 pm, Saturday August 27, 2011

Home of VBB Board Member Jaspal Subhlok
$ Free

VBB invites you to Returning to Our Roots Party!, a celebration on the last Saturday of August. Mingle with the VBB community, and participate in a discussion of our 2011-12 Season led by VBB Board, staff and artists!

Festivities will take place at the home of VBB Board Member Jaspal Subhlok, who hosted VBB’s first living room art production in 2007 when we exhibited art by Oskar Sonnen (who visualized the LRA series) and Danny Kerschen. The evening includes a 10-minute documentary by Faroukh Virani about VBB as we enter our second decade. Also, new DVDs of Patti Smith’s 2010 performance with VBB will be on sale. As always, there will be food, refreshments, and a birthday cake (with candles) for VBB Founding/Artistic Director Sehba Sarwar. All are invited!

Copyright ©2011 Voices Breaking Boundaries
Designed by Shaila Abdullah

VBB is a multidisciplinary arts organization. Our mission is to
cross borders, sustain dialogue and incite social justice through art.