Over the course of three years (2013 – 16) more than 60 visual, literary, performing and multidisciplinary and writers from two border regions South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka) and North America (Canada, USA-Mexico border, Mexico), and Houston contributed to VBB’s three-year Borderlines publications, Living Room Art shows, film screenings with panel discussions, workshops, book launches, conference panels and more.

AFGHANISTAN   |   BANGLADESH   |   CANADA   |   INDIA   |   MEXICO   |   PAKISTAN   |   SRI LANKA   |   HOUSTON   |   BORDERLINES

AFGHANISTAN

Peace Street is a collective based in Afghanistan that seeks to define an alternative, non-violent and non-linear approach to art. Their ultimate aim is to bring about peace and a culture of acceptance and coexistence to the war-torn realities of societies across the world. They believe it is through the use of simple imagery derived from the universal language of symbols that people can connect emotionally and thereby transform their societies.

Peace Street’s work was exhibited during Crossing the Lines.

BANGLADESH

Britto Arts Trust is an artist collective co-founded by visual artists Mahbubur Rahman and Tayeba Begum Lipi. Mahbubur Rahman has exhibited his work extensively, including thirteen solo shows and group exhibitions in many countries including India, Nepal, USA, Ireland, Germany, Finland, Denmark. He received nineteen grants and awards including the Grind Award at the 9th Asian Art Biennial (1999). Currently, he serves as the coordinator Britto Arts Trust. Tayeba Begum Lipi has been living in Dhaka for the past twenty-five years. She studied drawing and painting at the Institute of Fine Art, University of Dhaka until 1993. As one of the founders of Britto Arts Trust, she played a major role as coordinator since its inception in 2002 until 2007. Her curations include several international large-scale projects, as well as recently being the commissioner for Parables: Bangladesh Pavilion at the 54th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, 2011 and 2013.

Britto’s work was exhibited during Exploring Rituals and Crossing the Lines.

Community Arts Collective Chhobhir Haat was started in Dhaka more than ten years ago. The collective uses a public space in the center of the city to exhibit and perform new work and offer public art workshops. The group has exhibited and performed around Bangladesh and India.

Chhobir Haat’s work was exhibited during Exploring Rituals, Crossing the Lines, and Close Together.

Neloy I Hossain has participated in exhibitions and performances nationally and internationally. He involves himself mostly in site-specific works. He is mostly known as an installation and performance artist, as well as a painter and photographer. He works mostly on nature, social, sociopolitical and humanitarian issues. Hossain obtained his BFA and MFA from Dhaka University.

Hossain’s work was exhibited during Exploring Rituals.

Tayeba Begum Lipi has held solo exhibitions and projects in Istanbul, London, Dhaka and Delhi, and has participated in numerous group shows including the Venice Biennale (2011 and 2015); the Museo di Palazzo Grimani, Venice, Italy; Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil and Bello Horizonte, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, New York; Asia Society, Hong Kong; Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore; 14th Jakarta Biennale, Indonesia; and the Colombo Biennale, Sri Lanka (2012). Lipi served as Commissioner of the Pavilion of Bangladesh and 54 Venice Biennale, and has curated festivals in Nepal, Bangladesh and Italy. She has held residencies/fellowships in countries around the world and serves as a trustee of Britto Arts Trust (Dhaka, Bangladesh), a non-profit artists’ collective she co-founded in 2002. Lipi completed her Master’s of Fine Arts at the University of Dhaka.

Lipi’s work was exhibited during Exploring Rituals. She also contributed an essay for Borderlines Volume Two.

Sadya Mizan serves as the director/founder of Uronto, an organization that works toward forming meeting spaces for visual artists, photographers, writers, musicians and performing artists that work with a common theme and space, but in different languages. The aim of the program is to accommodate and sustain an organic environment for artists to fall in rhythm with the natural sphere and project their insights among fellow artists, ultimately creating a reverberating atmosphere to inspire further projects.

Mizan’s work was exhibited during Exploring Rituals, Crossing the Lines, and Close Together. She also contributed an essay and images for Borderlines Volume One.

Dr. Hafiza Nilofar Khan is creative writer, translator and recipient of the East West Center Scholarship (1990) and the PEO International Peace Scholarship, Des Moines, Iowa (1996). She holds two Master’s of Arts degrees in English from The University of Dhaka and The University of Hawaii at Manoa. Dr. Khan earned her PhD in Postcolonial Literature from The University of Southern Mississippi. Her area of specialization is South Asian Literature/Theory, Postcolonial Literature, Women and Gender Studies and Cultural/Film Studies. Her articles, poems and short stories have been published both nationally and internationally.  

Khan contributed an essay for Borderlines Volume One.

Kamruzzaman Shadhin is a visual artist who, after completing his BFA and MFA degree in 1999 from Dhaka University, started working as a freelance artist. Shadhin mainly works in the mediums of installation art, performance art and painting. He likes to experiment with different materials for his artworks, specifically the objects that are found around us. His work is generally public-oriented, interactive, and often focuses on political satire. Shadhin has been involved with Chhobir Haat since its inception.

Shadhin’s work was exhibited during Exploring Rituals, Crossing the Lines, and Close Together.

CANADA

Arlene Bowman earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute and a Masters of Fine Arts in Motion Picture/Television from the University of California in Los Angeles. Her films include Locked Doors, Illegal Anger, The Graffiti, Song Journey, Women and Men are Good Dancers, and The Navajo Talking Picture. Currently, Bowman aspires to create Tourquoise Filmmaker & Dialogue, an Indigenous Women Filmmaker Conference and a non-profit organization for Indigenous and low-income filmmakers.

Bowman contributed an essay for Borderlines Volume Two.

Sonya Fatah is a writer, editor and documentary filmmaker based in Toronto. She is a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. She has covered topics in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan for numerous international publications.

Fatah contributed an essay for Borderlines Volume Three.

Francisco-Fernando Granados is a Toronto-based artist, writer and educator working in performance, video, drawing, cultural criticism, and curatorial practice. A recipient of the Governor General’s Silver Medal for academic achievement upon graduating from Vancouver’s Emily Carr University in 2010, he completed a Masters of Visual Studies at the University of Toronto in 2012. He is currently a sessional faculty member at the University of Toronto Scarborough, and at OCAD University.

Granados’ work was exhibited during Close Together, Un/Welcome and Ni de aqui, ni de alla / Not from here, Not from there!

Manolo Lugo is a Mexican born, Toronto-based artist and educator working in performance, video, photography, and installation. Lugo’s work speaks to the conditions of migrancy, precarity and queerness in advanced capitalism, and he has performed and exhibited nationally and internationally in venues including the University of Toronto’s Art Centre, TRANSMUTED International Festival of Performance Art (Mexico City), LIVE Biennial of Performance Art (Vancouver), Visualeyez Performance Art Festival (Edmonton), amongst other venues. Lugo received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University and completed a Masters of Visual Studies at the University of Toronto in 2013. He has worked as a teaching assistant at the University of Toronto as well as a sessional faculty in the Visual Studies Department of the same University.

Lugo’s work was exhibited during Close Together, Un/Welcome and Ni de aqui, ni de alla / Not from here, Not from there!

SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre) is the only non-profit, artist-run centre in Canada dedicated to supporting South Asian artists. Their mission is to produce programs that critically explore issues and ideas shaping the identities and experiences of people from the region and its diasporas.

SAVAC assisted VBB to locate artists based in Canada and also cosponosored the screening of Monitor 10.

INDIA

Nandita Bhavnani has been conducting extensive research on Sindhi history and culture since the mid-1990s. Traveling widely across Sindh, Bhavnani has interviewed Sindhis in India, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan. In 2000, Bhavnani won the Katha South Asian Translation Award for the best English translation of a Sindhi story, and in 2001 she received a fellowship from Majlis Manch, Bombay, for her research on Sindhi Hindus in India. Currently, Bhavnani is working on a book about the highlights of Sindhi history and the splendors of its culture and heritage.

Bhavnani contributed an essay for Borderlines Volume Two.

Sayantan Maitra Boka earned a degree from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi before turning to a career in art. As a scenographer, he has produced and designed several museum shows of international stature, and as a visual artist, he has created site specific interventions with LAYOUT Collective. 
He is the chief coordinator of the NGO, Shelter Promotion Council (India) through which he has curated and produced public art festivals in Sikkim, Nagaland and Meghalaya.

Boka contributed an essay for Borderlines Volume Three.

Meenu Gaur (Co-Director) completed her PhD in Film and Media Studies from the University of London in 2010. She is the co-editor of the book Indian Mass Media and the Politics of Change, published by Routledge 2011 and distributed by OUP Pakistan. She is also the co-director of the award-winning documentary film, Paradise on a River of Hell.

Gaur’s feature film Zinda Bhaag (Run for Your Life) was screened in November 2014.

Chintan Girish Modi is a writer, educator, copy editor, and founder of Friendships Across Borders: Aao Dosti Karein (Let’s Be Friends), an initiative promoting friendship between Indians and Pakistanis. Long involved with peacekeeping initiatives, he received fellowships from Kulturstudier in Oslo, the Foundation for Universal Responsibility of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Delhi, and the SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont. Modi worked with the Hri Institute for Southasian  Research  and  Exchange in Kathmandu, and the Kabir  Project which is located  at the Srishti School of Art,  Design  and Technology in Bangalore.

Modi contributed an essay for Borderlines Volume One.

Veer Munshi is a Kashmiri artist, who lives in Delhi, who has consistently used his art to reflect his anguish at the situation in his home state, his pain and struggle spilling over onto his canvass. Making a human rights statement rather than a political one, he has constantly sought to highlight the turmoil that comes with his separation from his heritage, and to highlight the increasingly the narrow space that exists for culture and art in his state. He is also convinced that art, because of its universal nature, can play a significant role in the resolution of the Kashmir situation. His paintings and installations reflect a Kashmir that is in the context of the Kashmir That Was.

Munshi’s work was exhibited during Un/Welcome and Ni de aqui, ni de alla / Not from here, Not from there! Munshi’s art appears as the cover for Borderlines Volume Three; his interview also appears in the same volume.

Moonis Shah is an artist working in variety of mediums (installation, video installation, interactive art, digital painting, drawing, painting) focusing on social justice issues. Shah has shown his work at exhibitions in Kashmir, India. In 2014, he participated in Cinemadamare film festival in Italy and presented a research paper at the MUISC Youth and Art Conference held. Currently, Shah is a UNESCO UMISAA (United Nations Madanjeet Institute of South Asian Arts) scholar at Beaconhouse National University.

Shah’s work was exhibited during Close Together.

Sebastian Varghese works with photography, video, watercolor and print media. He completed his BFA from University of Kerala, India and works in India and in the US. He has participated in various camps and shows in both the countries. In India he shows with Threshold Gallery New Delhi, Viewing Room Mumbai, Sumukha Gallery Bangalore, Kashi Art Gallery Kochi and CIMA Gallery, Kolkota. In the US he exhibits with Decorazon Gallery in Dallas and Irving Art Centre, Irving, Texas. His works reflect the historic transformations in the landscape and how it affect people, whether it is organic or otherwise.

Varghese’s work was exhibited during Ni de aqui, ni de alla / Not from here, Not from there!

Noor Zaheer is a writer and researcher who produces works in English, Hindi and Urdu. Her published works include My God is a Woman and Aaj ke Naam, a biography of well-known Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Zaheer’s recent research includes tribal and Buddhist oral traditions of Northwestern Himalayas, compilation and translation of early women’s writings in Urdu, four volumes of short fiction, poetry, drama and nonfiction prose and Buddhist and Sufi elements in Baul Mysticism. She is a recipient of the Times Fellowship for Research (Dept. of Culture, Govt. of India), and is a writer-in-residence at the Sahitya Academy in Delhi.  

Zaheer  contributed an essay for Borderlines Volume Two.

MEXICO

Mónica Arreola has been featured and published in national and international magazines stemming from her participation in several collective exhibitions that have traveled in Mexico across different cities such as Monterrey, Guanajuato, Puebla, Mexico City and Tijuana as well as internationally, in San Diego, Washington D.C. and Madrid, Spain. Arreola holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from the Tijuana Technological Institute and a Master’s in History of Modern and Contemporary Art by Casa Lamm. Arreola’s work was exhibited during Crossing the Lines.

ASARO (Asamblea de Artistas Revolucionarios de Oaxaca) Art Collective is a group of artists from Oaxaca, Mexico who create images that synthesize the critical force born in the periphery, the barrios, the pueblos, and in youth. Their primary medium is woodcuts and includes graffiti and mixed media. Their work has been exhibited around Mexico and the US.

ASARO’s work was exhibited during Exploring Rituals; the collective was interviewed by Sisk for  Borderlines Volume Two.

Julia Villaseñor Bell has worked with art projects in France, India and Mexico. She completed her MA in Curating from the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne in 2010 after a BA in Art History in Paris X Nanterre. In India, she worked as a freelance curator developing projects with Vadehra Art Gallery, the Embassy of Mexico in India and the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Julia Libertad recently moved back to Mexico City after 12 years abroad working in culture, where she is part of the communications department for Kurimanzutto Gallery.

Modi contributed an essay for Borderlines Volume Three.

Photographer Alejandro Cossio earned a degree in Communication at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California where he learned photography. His work has been featured in publications such as Milenio, Proceso, El Pais, BBC News, LA Times, Folha, and agencies such as AP (Associated Press), EFE (Spanish News Agency), AFP (Agence France news), and DPA (German Agency). He has given lectures at universities such as UABC, Tec de Monterrey, University of Guadalajara, Ibero-DF, and his work has appeared in various international books and exhibitions. In 2013, Alejandro was invited to be a juror of the Gabriel García Márquez Award in the image category.

Cossio’s work was exhibited during Crossing the Lines.

CERRUCHA is an ARTivist whose photography, video, installation, and performance art uses techniques such as subversive advertising and dialogic art to intervene the public sphere. Her main interest is to produce works that stimulate public dialogue and participation where the audience can become active in cultural production. Her work communicates socially relevant themes such as gender issues, immigration, alterity and discrimination. She aims to be provocative with her work, engaging the viewer and striving to use art as a means for change within society.

CERRUCHA’s work was exhibited during Un/Welcome and Ni de aqui, ni de alla / Not from here, Not from there! She also contributed an essay for Borderlines Volume Three.

Born in Mexico City, Erika Harrsch has lived and worked in Mexico, Italy, Germany and, since 2001, in New York. Her multidisciplinary art practice employs resources that include drawing, painting, photography, video, animation and installations as scenario-building based on elements in both artificial and natural environments. Presenting intimate aspects of the human condition, her work invites and seduces the viewer to evidence their direct contact with reality through sense perception. Harrsch has participated in several Art Biennials including: Fokus Lodz Biennale, Poland 2010; Beijing 798 Biennale, China 2009; and the 5th International Media Art Biennale-Media City Seoul.

Harrsch’s work was exhibited during Exploring Rituals.

Adriana Trujillo + José Inerzia founded Polen as a collaborative team that develops artistic projects combining single channel video, multi-projection, expanded cinema, and research in the intersection between ethnographic and experimental film. Polen’s recents works include The Arcades media project (2014), Ghostly Pulsations (2014), Skin Destination (2012) and Felix: Self-fictions of a smuggler (2011). Adriana Trujlllo holds a master’s degree in Creative Documentary from the Barcelona Autonomous University and has received a number of grants and awards. Since 2003, she has been devoted to creating a space for non-fiction film with BorDocs Documentary Forum in the Tijuana-San Diego border region as a founder and artistic director. José Inerzia is the executive director of BorDocs Documentary Forum. He is also a producer and media artist and has been part of expanded cinema projects like Juan Soldado Suite, Antropotrip, and Requiem / Km 142.

Polen’s work was exhibited during Crossing the Lines and Close Together.

Minerva Reynosa is a poet from Monterrey, Mexico. She has recently published Mammut (Concretoons Cartuchera, 2015), Fotogramas de mi corazón conceptual absolutamente ciego (Consejo Estatal para la Cultura y las Artes/El Tucán de Virginia, 2012) and Atardecer en los suburbios (Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes/Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, 2011). She has participated in literary festivals in Mexico and abroad, and her work has been translated into German, French, Russian, Swedish, and English. Her blog with Benjamín Moreno contains visual, technological and textual experiments: BENERVA.

Reynosa contributed poetry for Borderlines Volume Three.

Patricia Vázquez works and lives between Portland and Mexico City and is currently enrolled in the MFA in Social Practices at Portland State University. Based on 7 years of experience as community-based organizer and educator, Vázquez has created videos, installations, books, and events with and about the immigrant communities of the places she has lived in. A committed painter and printmaker, Vázquez was awarded the Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prize.

Vazquez’s work was exhibited during Crossing the Lines.

PAKISTAN

Farrukh Adnan was born in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Farrukh received his master’s degree from Beaconhouse National University in 2014, and has participated in shows in Lahore and Karachi (Pakistan) by creating work that repeats various kinds of lines, symbols, patterns, and excavation plans that highlight the historical significance of a particular space. In November 2014, Farrukh participated in a group exhibition at Gallery Alliance Francaise de Karachi.

Adnan’s work was exhibited during Un/Welcome.

Tehmina Ahmed is a writer, editor, photographer, photo curator, documentary filmmaker, literary translator and aspiring poet based in Karachi.

Ahmed contributed an essay for Borderlines Volume One.

Sabina Zeba Haque is an artist of South Asian descent raised in Karachi. Haque received an M.F.A in Painting from Boston University, and teaches Fine Art at Portland State University, Oregon. Haque exhibits her work throughout the States and internationally, connecting her personal experience of living ‘between’ cultures and exploring the creative potential of the many places she calls home. In 2014 Haque was awarded the Oregon Arts Commission 2014 Individual Artist Fellowship, and the Jordan Schnitzer Printmaking Residency at the Sitka Art Center to take place in Oct 2014.

Haque’s work was exhibited during Crossing the Lines.

Nadja Khawaja graduated from the National college of Arts, Lahore with a distinction in printmaking in 2001. She was an exchange student for a year at the Ecole d’art d’aix en provence, France, where she explored diverse mediums such as photography, photo montage, collage, video, screen- printing and poetic texts. Khawaja also explored classical music and dance after graduating. Most recently, she has been working on large scale drawings, neon works, digital works and painting, and her work has been shown in various group and solo shows nationally and internationally.

Khawaja’s work was exhibited during Un/Welcome.

Naila Mahmood has been documenting alternative histories in Karachi, Pakistan for the past two decades. Mahmood has served as an art instructor at Indus Valley School of Art, Karachi University, and has exhibited her work at many Karachi galleries. One of Mahmood’s projects (featured in this publication) documents the work of Bengali refugees in Karachi who create flowers for special events.

Mahmood’s work was exhibited during Exploring Rituals. She also contributed an essay and photographs for Borderlines Volume Two.

Farjad Nabi (Co-Director) has directed award-winning documentaries including Nusrat Has Left the Building…but When?, No One Believes the Professor and The Final Touch. His Punjabi stage plays have been recently staged and published.

Nabi’s feature film Zinda Bhaag (Run for Your Life) was screened in November 2014.

Sophia Mairaj received her bachelors in fine arts from the department of visual art from the University of Karachi in 2007 and in 2013, completed her masters degree in visual art from NCA Lahore. Mairaj has been teaching at her alma mater in Karachi since graduation and is currently teaching at NCA as a visiting faculty and COMSATS Lahore as assistant professor. She has had several group shows in Pakistan and in the USA, her work got displayed in the Philips collection in Washington, D.C.

Mairaj’s work was exhibited during Un/Welcome.

Mohsin Shafi is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Lahore. He received his Masters Degree and BFA Degree, both from The National College of Artsin Lahore, Pakistan’s oldest arts school. Shafi continues to serve his alma mater as visiting faculty in the MA Visual Art Department of Fine Arts. His work investigates the blurred edges between identity and the intentions of identity construction. With his collages, ensembles, video works and installations, he engages ostensibly local narratives and challenges supposedly familiar images that have become established in our communal understanding. Through his works he probes the small spaces between lucidity and madness, intimacy and alienation, desire and ambivalence, the living and the absent.

Shafi’s work was exhibited during Un/Welcome.

The Tentative Collective, founded by Yaminay Chaudhuri, is a collective of people who share resources to create collaborative works of art in everyday urban spaces. It was founded in Karachi in 2011.

Tentative Collective’s work was exhibited during Exploring Rituals.

VASL arts collective is run by visual artist Adeela Suleman, who currently serves as Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Fine Art Department at Karachi’s Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture. Suleman, who has exhibited extensively in South Asia and the US, largely works with found objects ranging from readymades such as cooking utensils, drain covers, screws, nails, bolts, and fasteners to bathroom fittings, shower heads, and water pipe chain connections. With daily objects multiplied and assembled, Suleman presents them in a new role as sculptural objects.

VASL’s work was exhibited during Exploring Rituals.

Ilona Yusuf is a poet, printmaker, and designer. She has written for Newsline and has published essays on Pakistani poetry in English in international literary journals. Her work includes the poetry collection, Picture This (Alhamra Publishing, 2001) and poems in The Atlanta Review and The Journal of Commonwealth and Post Colonial Writing. She has served as editor for Alhamra Literary Review, for a special issue of Pakistani poetry in English for Vallum, and the upcoming Aleph Review.

Yusuf contributed an essay for Borderlines Volume Three.

Mazhar Zaidi (Producer) has been working as a journalist and filmmaker for over 20 years. As a journalist, he has worked with BBC World Service in London for over 11 years. His film Nar Narman was screened internationally and at the National Film Theatre in London in 2007.

Zaidi’s feature film Zinda Bhaag (Run for Your Life) was screened in November 2014.

SRI LANKA

Masooma Syed received an M.A. in Visual Arts from the National College of Arts, Lahore and has taught classes at Nca and Bnu in Lahore, Indus Valley School, Karachi, Kathmandu University, Nepal and Ambedkar University School of Culture and Creative Expression in Delhi. Her works have been exhibited in group shows in India, Japan, England, the United States, and Germany. Her work has been shown in galleries such as Rohtas Art Gallery, Lahore, Gallery Ske, Delhi and Bangalore and Vadehra Art Gallery Delhi. She currently divides her time between Colombo, Sri Lanka and New Delhi, India.

Syed’s work was exhibited during Un/Welcome and Ni de aqui, ni de alla / Not from here, Not from there! She also contributed an essay for Borderlines Volume Three.

USA/MEXICO BORDER

Selfa Chew-Smithart is an editor for Border Senses Literary Review. Her poetic, graphic, narrative, and editorial works have been published in Peru, Spain, Argentina, Mexico, the Netherlands and the United States, and include Mudas las Garzas (2007). She published Uprooting Community: Japanese Mexicans, World War II, and the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (University of Arizona Press) in 2015. Chew-Smithart holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Science from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. She received a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and a PhD in Borderlands History from The University of Texas-El Paso.

Chew-Smithart contributed a poem for Borderlines Volume One.

Minerva Laveaga earned a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from the University of Texas-El Paso and subsequently spent eight years conducting writing workshops for migrant farm workers and victims of domestic violence. She served as project director for the book series Memorias del Silencio: Footprints of the Borderland and as Executive Director for BorderSenses. Her short stories have been published in journals in the U.S. and Mexico, and her work is anthologized in Cuando narradoras latinoamericanas narran en Estados Unidos by Editorial Fundaci6n Ross in Argentina. She is currently an assistant English professor at El Paso Community College in Texas.

Laveaga contributed an essay for Borderlines Volume One.

Carolina Monsiváis is the author of Somewhere Between Houston and El Paso: Testimonies of a Poet (Premio Poesía Tejana), Elisa’s Hunger (Nuestra Voz Chapbook Competition), and most recently, Descent.  Her work is anthologized in Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry, Literary El Paso, A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry, and U.S. Latino Literature Today. Monsiváis has taught History, Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Texas at El Paso, New Mexico State University and El Paso Community College. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Borderlands History at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Monsiváis contributed poetry for Borderlines Volume Three.

Emmy Perez, originally from Southern California, has lived on the Texas-Mexico border, from El Paso to the Rio Grande Valley, since 2000. Her mother’s family has roots in El Paso stemming back before the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Pérez is the author of two poetry collections: Solstice, which issued a second edition in 2011, and With the River on our Face. She is at work on a third book, I Am Joaquín’s Mom, themes of which include motherhood on the border. Pérez is an associate professor at the University of Texas-Pan American.

Perez contributed poetry for Borderlines Volume Three.

HOUSTON, TEXAS WITH TIES TO BANGLADESH / INDIA / PAKISTAN / THAILAND / MEXICO-US BORDER

Diana Barrera is a first generation immigrant of Colombian decent who came to the United Sates in 1993. Barrera believes bringing stories to life challenges the community to use their critical thinking skills to understand and respond to painful issues like homelessness, immigration, police brutality, etc., in an empowering way and that experiencing these issues through theater evolves human understanding. Barrera is committed to social justice though art and has collaborated extensively with other groups including Colombian Folkloric Ballet and the Romero Theater troupe (Denver, CO). Barrera hopes to share her skills, cultivated through theater training, to develop awareness in our community.

Barrera participated as an artist and a member of VBB’s artist core group for Crossing the Lines and Ni de aqui, ni de alla / Not from here, Not from there!

Diana Barrera is a first generation immigrant of Colombian decent who came to the United Sates in 1993. Barrera believes bringing stories to life challenges the community to use their critical thinking skills to understand and respond to painful issues like homelessness, immigration, police brutality, etc., in an empowering way and that experiencing these issues through theater evolves human understanding. Barrera is committed to social justice though art and has collaborated extensively with other groups including Colombian Folkloric Ballet and the Romero Theater troupe (Denver, CO). Barrera hopes to share her skills, cultivated through theater training, to develop awareness in our community.

Barrera participated as an artist and a member of VBB’s artist core group for Crossing the Lines and Ni de aqui, ni de alla / Not from here, Not from there!

Robinson Block received his B.A. in History and Mexican American Studies from the University of Houston, and is pursuing a Masters of Social Work at the University of Houston. He is a resident of the Northside community whose background is as a historian and community organizer. Robinson has worked to document the stories of social movements in Houston, particularly Chicano and Black Power Movements. Block has helped to host a number of radical history bike tours that highlight the history of struggles in Houston. As a community coordinator with Avenue CDC and their GO Neighborhoods program in the Northside, Block has worked with civic and community organizations to improve quality of life and address public safety, housing, health, historic preservation and arts promotion.

Rob participated as an artist and a member of VBB’s artist core group for Marking History, Exploring Rituals, Shared Histories and Crossing the Lines.

Jimmy Castillo, photographer, resides in Houston’s Near Northside and is pursuing an MFA at the University of Houston. His work is represented in the collections at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Harry Ransom Center.

Castillo participated as an artist and a member of VBB’s artist core group for Marking History, Exploring Rituals, Shared Histories, Crossing the Lines, Close Together, and Borderlines!  Castillo also conducted an interview for Borderlines Volume One.

Danza Azteca Taxcayolotl is an Aztec dance group dedicated to preserving and nurturing the ancient Mesoamerica knowledge. Their goal is to preserve the sacred traditions left behind by our elders while sharing and exchanging cultural knowledge as a way to foster a sense of unity and constructiveness between all cultures. La Danza Azteca celebrates cultural diversity by exploring common links that bring and connect people together in a celebration of movement, art, and life.

Danza performed at VBB’s production Marking History.

Chatwara Oui Suwannamai Duran is an ethnographer and assistant professor of Applied Linguistics in the Department of English at the University of Houston. Originally from Thailand, she received a BA in English from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. She earned a Master’s degree in Bicultural-Bilingual Studies from University of Texas at San Antonio, and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University. She has worked, laughed, and dined with recently-resettled refugees predominantly from Burma or Myanmar in multiple US cities since 2009. Her research advocating the refugees’ voice, both children and adults, has been published and presented nationally and internationally.

Duran contributed an essay-interview for VBB’s Borderlines Volume Three.

Performance Artist Autumn Knight is a native Houstonian who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre and Speech Communications from Dillard University and Master of Arts in Drama Therapy from New York University. She received additional acting training at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama. Her community-based theater experience includes work with Cornerstone Theatre (Los Angeles) and various Houston-area organizations. Prior to pursuing a master’s degree, she was a Theatre Communications Group New Generations Fellow at Houston’s Alley Theatre. She has performed internationally with Elevator Repair Service and is a co-founder of Jelly Jar, a performance-based collective.

Knight participated as an artist and a member of VBB’s artist core group for Marking History and Exploring Rituals.

Deniz Dee!Colonize Lopez brings an in-your-face social commentary to the mic. Over the past 7 years, this Xicana has connected with several artists + activists to bring the message of revolution and community consciousness to the stage. She has hosted at the 1st and 2nd Annual East End Festival, and has read for and organized benefit shows and events dealing with the abolition of the death penalty, an end to police brutality, empowerment of women, immigration rights, black/brown unity, and indigenous pride. dee!colonize currently maintains a blog where she shares poetry and commentary throughout the week.

Dee!Colonize performed at VBB’s production Marking History and guest taught VBB’s community workshop.

Karen Martinez, a digital filmmaker originally from Hidalgo, Mexico, has produced many original documentaries. Martinez also created documentaries for VBB’s Borderlines project, and has been integral to the production’s series. Currently employed at SEIU Texas, Martinez is a first year graduate student at the University of Houston’s School of Art.

Martinez participated as an artist and a member of VBB’s artist core group for Shared Histories, Crossing the Lines, and Borderlines!

Visual Artist Robert A. Pruitt was born in Houston’s Third Ward and is a founding member of the Artist collective Otabenga Jones & Associates. Pruitt creates sculptures, drawings, video, and installations about the dichotomy of the black experience in America and the impact of black cultural production on the global landscape. He has exhibited his work nationally and was a participating artist in the 2006 Whitney Biennial. Pruitt is a recipient of the Artadia Award in 2004, and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award in 2008. In 2007, he was an Artpace Artist-In-Residence in San Antonio.

Pruitt participated as an artist and a member of VBB’s artist core group for Marking History and Exploring Rituals, which he co-curated with Sehba Sarwar.

Bruno Ríos (Hermosillo, Sonora, México 1988) is a poet, novelist, editor, translator and PhD candidate at the Department of Hispanic Studies of the University of Houston. He is the author of several poetry books and the novel La voz de las abejas (Sediento Ediciones, 2016). He has been published in numerous magazines and journals in the United States, Mexico, and several countries in Latin America. His work explores the intersections between poetry and politics in the last 30 years, as well as topics including the discourse of violence and the regional implications of the border in recent Mexican poetry, film, and photography.

Rios contributed poetry toward VBB’s Borderlines Volume Three

Harbeer Sandhu is a writer of fiction, poetry and criticism. In 2012,  Sandhu received a Creative Capital I grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Writers Program to launch texphrastic.com, a blog covering Texas visual art in a global context. He earned a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of San Francisco, California.

Sandhu participated as an artist and a member of VBB’s artist core group for Marking History and Exploring Rituals. He also contributed an essay and images for Borderlines Volume Two.

Mikaela Selley is the Hispanic Collections Archivist at the Houston Metropolitan Research Center (HMRC), part of the Houston Public Library System. During her time at HMRC, she has developed partnerships with local college campuses to introduce students to the archives; acquired new collections and oral histories; and curated four exhibits including one showcasing the history of the Northside’s Mexican American community. She received a Master of Arts in Public History from the University of Houston. She is a Houston native raised in the city’s East End.

Selley contributed an essay for Borderlines Volume Three.

Bapsi Sidhwa is an internationally acclaimed author who was raised in Lahore, Pakistan, and now lives in Houston, Texas. She graduated from Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore. Her five novels, Cracking India, The Pakistani Bride, The Crow Eaters, An American Brat, and Water, have been translated and published in several languages. Her anthology, City of Sin and Splendour: Writings on Lahore was published in 2006.

Sidhwa contributed an essay for Borderlines Volume One.

Christina L. Sisk, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Hispanic Studies at the University of Houston. Her areas of interest are U.S. Latina/o Studies, US-Mexico Border Studies, Mexican Literary and Cultural Studies, and Latin American Cinema. She is the author of Mexico, Nation in Transit: Contemporary Representations of Mexican Migration to the United States (University of Arizona Press, Fall 2011), which explores the topic of migration from a transnational approach that includes analyses of Mexican border film, la literatura de la frontera, Mexican rock music, migrant narratives, Hollywood films made by Mexican directors, and texts written by second- and third-generation immigrants.

Sisk interviewed ASARO for Borderlines Volume Two.

Shreerekha Subramanian, PhD, is an associate professor of humanities at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, Texas, who teaches global literary and philosophical texts to undergraduate and graduate students. She publishes scholarships across Comparative and Cultural Studies and just completed her first monograph, Women Writing Violence: The Novel and Radical Feminist Imaginaries (Sage 2012). Her path to the academy is circuitous and nurtured through a Master’s of Fine Arts in Poetry from Syracuse University. She hopes the muse returns intermittently to sustain her relationship to that most elusive and profound realm of the written word, the poem.

Subramanian contributed poetry for Borderlines Volume Two.

Samhita Sunya has been an apprentice to Houston-based Hindustani classical musicians Chandrakantha and David Courtney for nearly two decades, studying and performing both voice and dilruba. With the Courtneys, Sunya has performed for several organizations and venues in the Greater Houston area, including: Rothko Chapel, Da Camera, Houston International Festival, Houston Grand Opera, The Artery / Artery Media Project, Discovery Green Park, and Asia Society Texas.

Sunya participated as an artist for Crossing the Lines.

M’kina Tapscott is a Houston native whose work is informed by a desire to teach and create. Tapscott’s sculpture and installation work has become a platform to speak about the correlation between humanity and the vast and evolving universe. As a community based artist Tapscott creates work that utilizes aspects of popular culture, social constructs, and historical accounts to critique life in the 21st century and beyond.

Tapscott participated as an artist and a member of VBB’s artist core group for Exploring Rituals.

Sukhada Tatke is a freelance reporter and writer based in Houston, TX. While in India, she was a staff writer at the newspapers The Times of India and The Hindu. As a freelancer, she has contributed to The Wire, Scroll, Caravan, Texas Monthly, The Establishment, and others.

Tatke interviewed artist Veer Munshi and journalist Fahad Khan for Borderlines Volume Three.

Roberto Tejada is author of the poetry collections Full Foreground (Arizona, 2012), Exposition Park (Wesleyan, 2010), Mirrors for Gold (Krupskaya, 2006), and Todo en el ahora (Libros Magenta, 2015). Co-editor of the multi-lingual journal Mandorla: New Writing from the Americas, and a visual scholar, he has published National Camera: Photography and Mexico’s Image Environment (Minnesota, 2009), A Ver: Celia Alvarez Muñoz (Minnesota, 2009), and essays on photographers Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Graciela Iturbide, and Luis Gispert.  He is faculty at the University of Houston where he teaches in the Creative Writing Program and Art History Department.

Tejada contributed translations for Bruno Rios’ poetry in Borderlines Volume Three.

Monica Villarreal is an interdisciplinary Xicana artist and activist. Her art focuses on social change, gender equality, and environmental issues. She has multiple awards in photography and filmmaking and is a traditional Aztec dancer with Danza Azteca Taxcayolotl. She’s also a founding member of Creative Women Unite, a feminist art collaborative, and has over nine years of experience organizing with non-profit and grassroots organizations. Currently completing her graduate in Digital Media Studies at University of Houston-Clear Lake with a focus on graphic design and printmaking, Villarreal is a part of Project Row House’s Round 41.

Villarreal participated as an artist and a member of VBB’s artist core group for Marking History (which she curated), Exploring Rituals, Shared Histories, Crossing the Lines,Close Together and Borderlines! Villarreal also interviewed Daniel Bustamante for Borderlines Volume One.

Stalina Emmanuelle Villarreal is a Generation 1.5 poet (Mexicana and Chicana) and translator. She has published various translations, including Enigmas, by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (Señal: a project of Libros Antena Books, BOMB, and Ugly Duckling Presse, 2015). The focus of her translations is the work by regiomontana poet Minerva Reynosa—a chapbook, an excerpt from Photograms of My Conceptual Heart, Absolutely Blind, is forthcoming (Cardboard House Press). She received a MFA in Writing from California College of the Arts. She is an instructor at Houston Community College and a PhD student at University of Houston.

Villarreal interviewed Minerva Reynosa and translated her work for Borderlines Volume Three.

Gemini Wahhaj is associate professor of English at Lone Star College, North Harris Campus. She is a graduate of the PhD program in creative writing and literature at University of Houston. Her fiction has been published in Granta, Cimarron Review, Crab Orchard Review, Night Train, Carolina Quarterly, Northwest Review, Apogee, Chattahoochee Review, Silk Road, and other magazines.  An excerpt from her YA novel was published in Gothic Volume 5.

Wahhaj contributed an essay for Borderlines Volume Three.

Charisse Weston holds a masters degree from the University of Edinburgh and BA from the University of North Texas. Her work focuses on how individuals construct personal myths or narratives of Self-hood. Weston is concerned with the dichotomies of Self/Others, Subject/ Object, Individual/Community and is interested in exploring the continual oscillation we as human beings experience between these dichotomies as we relate to time and space. Weston has performed or exhibited her work in Houston spaces, including DiverseWorks, the Glassell School of Art, Midtown Art Center, the Jung Center Houston, Project Row Houses and the Houston Fine Arts Fair 2014.

Members of the Punjabi Cultural Society performed during Exploring Rituals.

BORDERLINES PUBLISHING AND ARTS PRODUCTION TEAM

PUBLICATION

Borderlines Director

Sehba Sarwar, the artistic/founding director of VBB, is a writer and multidisciplinary artist who developed VBB’s Borderlines project. Raised in Karachi, Pakistan, Sarwar spent 20 years in Houston and is currently based in Southern California where she continues to direct VBB and write/create time-based art installations that explore displacement, borders and women’s issues. Sarwar’s essays, poems and short stories have appeared in publications including And The World Changed (Feminist Press, New York), The News on Sunday, The New York Times’ Sunday Magazine and Callaloo, and her video collages have been screened in Pakistan, India, Egypt and the United States.  Sarwar conceptualized and directed VBB’s Borderlines project, working with editors and production managers to ensure Borderlines’  success at all levels.

Sarwar contributed toward Exploring Rituals, Crossing the Lines, and Borderlines! She also generated essays and interviews for Borderlines Volumes One, Two and Three.

Borderlines Volumes One, Two and Three Publication Editors

Margot Gayle Backus received her PhD in English Literature from the University of Texas-Austin. As a professor of English at the University of Houston, her areas of specialization include postcolonial/

empire studies, Marxist theory, and critical sexuality studies. Her publications include The Gothic Family

Romance: Heterosexuality, Child Sacrifice and the Anglo-Irish Colonial Order (1999) and Scandal Work: James Joyce, the New Journalism, and the Home Rule Newspaper Wars (2013). She has worked with Houston Global Awareness, KPFT and Code Pink, and served as board member and board president for Voices Breaking Boundaries from 2007 to 2015.

Backus wrote the introduction for Borderlines Volume One and Three.

María C. Gonzalez is an associate professor of English at the University of Houston and an authority on Mexican-American literature, Chicana writers, and feminist and queer theory. The author of Contemporary

Mexican American Women Novelists: Toward a Feminist Identity, she is currently completing a book on the influence of Chicana lesbian writers and queer theory in Chican@ literary studies. Past president of the National Women’s Studies Association and an officer of the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies, González has served on the editorial boards of the NWSA Journal, The Journal of Lesbian Studies, and currently serves on the board of Chicana/Latina Studies Journal.

Gonzalez wrote the introduction for Borderlines Volume Two and Three.

Borderlines Volumes One, Two and Three Graphic Design Artist

Joshua N. Turner served as VBB’s interim executive director from 2009 to 2012 and remained involved with VBB even after moving to New York for a few years. Now back in Houston, Turner has designed all of VBB’s hybrid publications: Borderlines Volumes One, Volume Two and Volume Three; Women Under Siege; and Homes and Histories. Turner holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston.

Borderlines Volumes One, Two and Three Cover Design

Angela Martinez’s expertise in design and account management make her an exceptional Designer and Project Manager who brings the highest standards to all deliverables, both print and digital. She has over 14 years experience in graphic design and web design and has produced projects for clients ranging from small non-profits to multi-million dollar agencies. Martinez has worked at various firms in Houston from an in-house designer, account and project manager to a freelance graphic designer. In late 2016, she decided it was time to join forces with her oldest friend and creative soulmate to exploit their years of experience and tenacity to create functional, strategic solutions for their beloved clients. She completed many projects ranging from website design to designing product catalogs and has been generating unique graphic design for VBB since 2006.

Borderlines Volumes One and Two Managing Director

Ana Laurel served as VBB’s Associate Director from 2013-16 and has since been working as grant-writer for Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts (MECA). Laurel graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in Literature from the University of Houston-Downtown (2012). Currently, she is pursuing a J.D. from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in Phoenix, Arizona where she is a member of their nationally-renowned Indian Legal Program.

ARTS PRODUCTION

2013 – 15 Borderlines Production Managers

Michelle Garcia is a Houston-based artist and photographer who holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Art and a minor in Mexican-American Studies from the University of Houston. She was introduced to traditional photographic processes in high school and has since continued to shoot with various formats of film. In 2014-15, She also serves as vice president of the board for the South Texas Human Rights Center.

Garcia participated as an artist Exploring Rituals, Crossing the Lines, and Ni de aqui, ni de alla /

Not from here, Not from there! She also conducted an interview for Borderlines Volumes Two.

G. Armando Silva is a freelance dance artist, teacher, and choreographer. A former VBB production manager, he received his training from Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA), Southern Methodist University and the Ailey School in New York City. In 1995, Silva became a member of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre until his retirement in 2006. Returning to Houston, Silva began working with Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts (MECA) as a dance director and development director; Silva now works as assistant to Founder Alice Valdez, and is an adjunct faculty member at HSPVA.

Silva served as production manager during 2013-14. He also participated as an artist for Un/Welcome.