Lucid Dreams and Distant Visions @ Asia Society Museum, June 27 – August 6, 2017, New York City


“Thoroughly enjoyable”
The New Yorker

“Long overdue”
Cobo Social

“For immigrants, the children of them, and anyone of South Asian descent, this exhibit is no less than a love letter to you.” 

“A most lively and provocative show not to be missed”
International Examiner

Asia Society Museum in New York shines a spotlight on the work of nineteen contemporary artists from the South Asian diaspora. As individuals living between worlds, diasporic artists often negotiate notions of home and issues relating to migration, gender, race, and memory in their practice. Lucid Dreams and Distant Visions: South Asian Art in the Diaspora, organized by Asia Society Museum with the support of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, will be on view from June 27 to August 6, 2017.

On the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of independence of the Indian Subcontinent from the British Empire, this exhibition, first proposed by Jaishri Abichandani, founder of the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective, provides a timely platform to celebrate these artists and their diverse perspectives, notably in response to the recent rise of nationalism and xenophobia that has swept the globe.

“Seen in the context of the turbulent state of affairs for immigrant populations, the work of diasporic artists working and living between worlds has taken on a new urgency in counterbalancing the retreat into simplistic identity politics and xenophobia,” said Boon Hui Tan, Asia Society Vice President for Global Arts & Cultural Programs and Director of Asia Society Museum. “Through a number of mediums, including photography, sculpture, and video, the artists featured in Lucid Dreams and Distant Visions challenge prevailing stereotypes and assumptions of South Asian identities in the United States today.”

The artists, all living in the United States, represent a microcosm of the American experience and their respective practices across four decades have collectively impacted the development of contemporary art in the United States.

The artists reflect the diverse demographics of South Asia and their work engages the nuanced cultural specificities of the region, as well as the racial and cross-cultural tensions in the current sociopolitical climate.

Featured artists: Jaishri Abichandani, Anila Quayyum Agha, Mequitta Ahuja, Rina Banerjee, Khalil Chishtee, Ruby Chishti, Allan deSouza, Chitra Ganesh, Mariam Ghani, Vandana Jain, Gautam Kansara, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, Naeem Mohaiemen, Kanishka Raja, Tenzing Rigdol, Shahzia Sikander, Jaret Vadera, Palden Weinreb, and Zarina.

The artist selection was made by Boon Hui Tan and Lawrence-Minh Davis, Curator, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. Together they formed the curatorial committee with Abichandani and Michelle Yun, Senior Curator for Modern and Contemporary Art, Asia Society.

Related symposium

A two-day symposium organized in conjunction with the exhibition brings together South Asian American artists, curators, and academics to discuss the state of the field and to identify strategies to bring the work of contemporary South Asian artists and cultural practitioners to a broader audience. Titled “Fatal Love: Where Are We Now,” the symposium is co-organized by the Queens Museum and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and will be held at the Queens Museum on July 1 and 2. The keynote panel for the symposium will be held at Asia Society Museum on the evening of June 30, preceded by a reception for the exhibition.

Exhibition support

Lucid Dreams and Distant Visions: South Asian Art in the Diaspora is made possible by the generous support of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. Critical funding is provided by Burger Collection, Hong Kong.


Fatal Love Invitation