What Is Home? (2015); photo by Paul Hester
What Is Home? (2015); photo by Paul Hester
Looking for a space to perform her work, she invited four women writers/artists – Christine Choi, Marcela Descalzi, Donna Perkins, and Jacsun Shah – to join her in starting a literary collective. Sarwar received project grants from the Houston Arts Alliance (then called Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County), and the collective hosted bi-monthly readings at a Houston bookstore. The response ignited Sehba’s determination to produce a series of multi-sensory experiences enriched by open mic, music and dance.
The University of Houston installs permanent VBB archives that chronicle the organization’s ongoing history.
VBB is featured in Houston History, a quarterly magazine published by the Center for Public History at the University of Houston. The feature story is accompanied by a month-long exhibition of VBB’s archived materials at The Heritage Society Museum Gallery in downtown Houston.
Working with editors Margot Backus and Maria Gonzalez and layout artist Joshua Turner, VBB publishes <i>BORDERLINES Volume One</i> and <i>Volume Two</i>, that contain art from Living Room Art shows as well as essays, poems and interviews from border regions.
UH History professor Kairn Klieman teaches a public history graduate level course that focuses on the development of VBB and Sarwar’s history as an activist and artist.
Sarwar develops <i>BORDERLINES</i>, a project that is expanded beyond Houston and Karachi to explore border issues between North America and select South Asian countries (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan).
Sarwar is awarded Artist-in-Residence at the Mitchell Center for the Arts (University of Houston), where she develops her What is Home? project.
VBB is awarded its first National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant through which Sarwar collaborates with Houston-based and Karachi based-artists to create two productions, Women Under Siege and Homes and Histories, that explore how religious extremism impacts women and how the slavery of black communities affected both Houston and Karachi.
Sarwar donates her 1992 Honda Civic hatchback to VBB and collaborates with artist Eric Hester to create an Art Car, Revolution, that contains nine television screens, a microphone, images of inspiring artists including Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Patti Smith, and that is decorated with Pakistani truck art motifs from Karachi. In 2011, the car wins a Freedom of Speech award at Houston’s legendary Orange Show Art Car Parade.
VBB hosts a reading and performance donated by punk rock icon Patti Smith following a chance meeting with Sehba Sarwar in New York after a protest against the war in Iraq.
Sehba Sarwar starts a new stream of Living Room Art productions at her own home in East Houston; the show is dedicated to her father Dr. Mohammad Sarwar, a doctor and activist in Pakistan, and Daniel Bustamente, an activist in Houston.
VBB initiates a pop-up multidisciplinary series in Houston’s East End through which artists exploring race, women’s rights, education, and GLBT issues are given voice.
VBB is awarded its first Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts award to deepen its creation of alternative pop-up art around Houston.
VBB’s first Living Room Art (LRA) Production initiated by Oskar Sonnen takes place at Jaspal Subhlok’s home in Houston’s Montrose neighborhood, drawing more than 200 people.
The organization produces its Words for Peace multidisciplinary series in response to the biases emerging in the community after 9/11; productions are held at DiverseWorks where VBB has started officing at the invitation of DiverseWorks Interim Performance Arts Director Oskar Sonnen.
Through grants and funding received by Sarwar, VBB initiates writing, performance and video workshops at Furr, Sharpstown and Lee High Schools. Some workshops culminate with public performance at DiverseWorks, where Sarwar serves as Literary Curator.
Based on the success of the South Asian Film Festivals, and with the support of several community members including Krupa Parikh, VBB incorporates as a non-profit 501(c)3 arts organization.
VBB initiates South Asian Film Festivals, a collaboration between Himal South Asia and VBB. With the support of Marian Luntz, Film Director at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH) Film Department, screenings are held at the MFAH and in collaboration with Fotofest.
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