Sheetal Prajapati

My creative practice explores modes of emergent intimacies that inform our relationships to the material world, each other and ourselves. My work is a series of investigations in how intimacies develop, change and exist among us, our role in these processes, and the outcomes that can be generated. I am interested in unearthing or generating quieter or less visible modes of intimacy – considering distance, history, materiality, and directed modes of exchange – to realize the potentiality of existing or emergent relationships between the material and immaterial.

 

Currently this exploration is taking the form of a writing project about the experience of otherness. Through both first person and academic research, I am weaving my personal narrative from childhood to the present  with essay and meditations on topics that inform an experience of otherness – race, gender, capitalism, and meritocracy alongside more conceptual constructs like belonging and intersectionality.  Much of my previous studio-based practice has led to my current work. The intention of this writing project is to offer a lense into the experience of otherness that provides a space for intersectional empathy and action.   How can our parallel experience of exclusion bring us into a shared space of possibility?

 

Over the last five years, my investigation into mode of emergent intimacies has taken shape in a range of media – from a ouija-board based participatory performance to tap into potential intimacy between strangers to letter writing as an exploration of building and documenting memories of discrete experiences through the lense of various existing relationships. My interest in materials and the materiality of these ephemeral ideas is to unearth or expose the possibilities of the intangible through building bridges or totems to access them.

 

In Meditation (Manifestations), a site specific installation and audio experience constructed entirely from carded and spun cotton that I handspun over the preceding three months. Through the process of spinning, the physical quality of the material transforms, from individual feather-like fibers to durable, bound thread. Present together, in each stage of the spring process, the sculptural work provides a space for meditation on the manifestation of new forms through labor. Drawing on two written works – Khadi, Why and How (1955), Mahatma Gandhi’s writings on spinning cotton as a form of economic resistance and The Religion of Man (1931), Rabindranath Tagore’s published 1930 Hibbert Lecture on human spirituality- the audio recording offers a speculative dialog meditating on collectivity as a form of resistance and liberation.

 

Often my work builds over time – realized in multiple forms and objects. Audit, a performative documentation of time and ritual, brought one year’s worth of bindis I wear together as a final installation in my apartment bathroom. This work, with an audience of 8 guests – who celebrated new years with me and witnessed the full bathroom installation -served as starting point and material for Parallel Current.  This work on wood board recreates the constellation Eridanus, also known as Srotaswini. Over time, I have come to see this piece as kind of self-portrait – two parallel narratives that touch the same points in time and space. The naming of this collection of stars in both Roman and Indian astronomy reference flows of water as a bridge between the celestial and material worlds.

 

My creative practice is rooted in a kind of artistic pedagogy. I consider my labor across the arts as a curator, educator, and advisor as a expressions of my creative work.   Discrete projects and objects are certainly a critical part of my larger practice but I am also interested in the all the ways I perform as artist in other modes of production and thinking.  I believe that my work is about questioning the boundaries between these identities – curator, educator, artist, advisor, administrator, leader. Where does my artistic expression end and begin between, amongst and within each of these forms of labor? The process of creative expression can be fluid and concrete, personal and public, material and abstract.  My practice seeks to find and create forms and experiences that open spaces on the spectrum within these seemingly binary scales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Education

 

2007                             Master of Arts, Arts Administration and Policy

School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois

2002                             Bachelor of Arts, History and Gender Studies

                                         Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

 

Exhibitions, Installations, Performances, and Workshops

 

2018  & 2016         Spinning Circles | 3 studio workshops and dialogs

Haystack Mountain School of Craft, Deer Isle, Maine

2016                            Altered States: Faculty Trienniel | curated by John Caperton

The Galleries at Moore, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

2016                            We are Not Alone | Two-part site specific interactive installation

Elsewhere Museum, Greensboro, North Carolina

2016                            NO ATLAS | Group exhibition at Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts New York [June 10 – July 9, 2016]

2016                            Game Night | group presentation of artist-made games

Denny Gallery, New York & New Rochelle, New York

2015                             Audit | site-specific installation, home of the artist; archive of bindis worn by artist from January 1, 2015– January 5, 2016

2015,ongoing    Bound | an ongoing series of intimate performances tying mauli (red thread) to individuals marking collective experiences

2014/15                     a journal between us | a collection of journal entries and dialogs between the artist and 16 new York-based participants; materials presented at Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Project Space gallery, New York [August 2015]

 

Residencies

 

2019                            Making Futures School | Making Futures Bauhaus+ (upcoming)

Berlin, Germany [August 31 – September 15, 2019]

2018                            Writer’s Retreat/Residency | Summer’s Day Ranch 

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico [November 4 – November 30, 2018]

2018                            Visiting Artist Residency | Wassaic Project   

Wassaic, New York  [October 1 – October 14, 2018]

2017                             Open Studio Residency | Haystack Mountain School of Craft   

Deer Isle, Maine  [May 29 – June 9, 2017]

2016                            Artist Research Residency | Arquetopia Foundation

Puebla, Mexico [November 7 –December 5, 2016]

2016                            Visiting Artist Residency | Elsewhere Museum

Greensboro, North Carolina  [July 13 – July 30, 2016]

2015-2016              Artist Residency | SHIFT, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts

New York, New York  [August 2015 – July 2016]

2014                             Teaching Artist Residency | Srishti School

Bangalore, India [November – December 2014]

 

Curatorial Projects

 

 

2016/17                    Game Night | a series of 6 curated public events presenting artist-made games for play. Game night was a curatorial collaboration with Anna Harsanyi and included artists Chloe Bass, Sal Randolph, Richie Brown, Yasi Ghanbari, Dillon deGive, and others.

2007                             Lessons in Learning: Art and Education from the Artists’ Book Collection Collection-based exhibition co-curated with Tricia Van Eck, MCA Curatorial Coordinator and Curator of Artists’ Books; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago [February-May]

20o4                            Chicago Ravioli Project | a guerilla public art project curated and produced in collaboration with artist collective Temporary Services and Stephanie Pereira and Jacqueline Badzin [January – May]

 

Professional Experience

 

2018 –present    Faculty, School of Visual Arts, MFA Fine Arts  [New York, New York]

 

2017-2018              Director of Public Engagement, Pioneer Works [Brooklyn, New York]

 

2017-2018              Adjunct Faculty, Montclair State University, MFA [Montclair, New Jersey]

 

2016                            Adjunct Faculty, Moore College of Art and Design, MA Community Practice [Philadelphia, PA]

 

2010-2016              Assistant Director, Learning and Artists Initiatives

                           The Museum of Modern Art [New York, New York]

                                         Previously held titles include Acting Assistant Director and Associate Educator

 

2007-2010               Director of Educational Programs & Undergraduate Instructor

Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University [Evanston, Illinois]

 

2004-2007               Manager of Family and Youth Programs

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago [Chicago, Illinois]

 

2002-2003               Interim Curatorial Assistant for Education

Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University [Evanston, Illinois]

 

Artist Talks

 

2019                            School of Visual Arts, New York, New York [March 26]

2018                            Wassaic Project, Wassaic, New York [March 16]

2016                            Galleries at Moore, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [October 18]

2016                            Elsewhere Museum, Greensboro [July 16]

2016                            University of North Carolina, Greensboro [March 1]

 

 

Lectures & Conversations (selected)

 

2019                            R&D Salon: The White Male, Museum of Modern Art [New York, New York]    2018         The Future of Culture, Northside Festival [Brooklyn, New York]

2018                            Keynote Speaker, Art School Collaborative

Haystack Mountain School of Craft [Deer Isle, Maine]

2017                             Fatal Love: Where Are We Now?, Asia Society & Queens Museum [New York]

2017                             NOW//NOW//NOW//NOW: Art Practice and Feminism

SOHO20 Gallery [New York, New York]

2017                             Embedded, Embedding: Artist Residencies, Urban Placemaking, and Social Practice; Residency Unlimited & The New School [New York, New York]

2016                            Ignite Talk: Sacrifice and Social Impact, KinnerLat [Antigua, Guatemala]

2016                            Art in Practice: Intersections between Art, Education and Public Engagement; Haystack Mountain School of Craft [Deer Isle, Maine]

2015                             Public Engagement and Museums

Creative Time Summit, Arts Curriculum [Brooklyn, New York, November 14]

2015                             Artist as Educator, Exploring Two Identities

The Dedalus Foundation [New York, October 28]

 

Advisory & Field Work (selected, 2014-2019)

 

2019                      Chamberlain Award & Residency Reviewer

Headlands Center for the Arts [Sausalito, California]

2019                      Artist Fellowship Nominator

                                Apex Art [New York, New York]                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

2014-2020           Joyce Artist Award Selection Committee

The Joyce Foundation [Chicago, Illinois]

2017-2019           Artist Grant Nominator

                                Joan Mitchell Foundation [New York, New York]

2018                      Van Lier Artist Fellowship Selection Committee

                                  Asian American Arts Alliance [New York, New York]

2015 & 2018       Program Selection Committee, Open Engagement  [Oakland & New York]

 

Board Appointments

 

2018 – present   Founding Board Member, Art + Feminism Wikipedia {New York, New York]

2017-2018              Board Member, IDEA New Rochelle [New Rochelle, New York]

2005-2006              Board Member, Dog and Pony Theatre Company [Chicago, Illinois]