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Kaya Collective Holds First Exhibition

March 2004
Kaya Collective Holds First Exhibition

The Kaya Collective, a group of artists, activists, and community organizers, held their first exhibition entitled "Beginnings" on February 7 at the Five Spot.

Nearly 150 people packed the caf� in Little Five Points to watch the exhibition featuring local writers, poets, performers, visual artists and musicians. The evening started with a reception that included contemporary paintings and art work. The performances covered works written and choreographed for the event by local writers and dancers as well as a piece written by Indian playwright, Manjula Padmanabhan.

"I think we should enjoy both the uniqueness and the universality of the human experience," said Alka Roy, artistic director and one of the founding members of the collective. "The idea of this collective is to create a space for innovative and original works by artists and activists who are speaking their minds, especially those from the South Asian region."

The exhibition focused on works dealing with the South Asian experience but the collective has plans to grow into a multi-cultural group. "I look forward to continued influences and participation from all cultures so that our collective can grow and reflect the participants' experiences. Our content, our stories, the voices were definitely South Asian at the show but we had writers, artists and volunteers from other communities ranging from mainstream American to Mexican, Czech Republican and Guyanese," Roy said.

The evening was charged with an attentive audience who participated fully, from the sly humor of a comedy skit inspired by Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" or Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update" that parodied current affairs in the South Asian community to the somber piece entitled "Invocation" that highlighted the importance of remembering and naming the victims of violence in events such as the Gujarat riots. There was also live music and original choreography that invited the audiences to join in.

"I was floored by the support we got from the community," said Priyanka Sinha, another of the founding members of the collective. "The exhibition proves that there is a huge need for South Asian art and activism. It truly resonated on Saturday. I kept hearing, 'Atlanta needs this, we need this.'"

Sinha added, "I can't wait to see further collaborations and transformations. It's inspiring."

"This was a great start and to keep this collective fresh and innovative, I'd like to see participation from even more people from various disciplines and communities," Roy said.

For more information, please write to info@kayacollective.org or visit the Kaya Collective Web site at www.kayacollective.org.

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