A celebration of sexual empowerment, healing, pleasure, & love among women from the South Asian Diaspora

How does erotic power manifest in the contemporary lives of diasporic Desi women? And what is the role of the erotic in our indigenous cultures–in the beliefs and practices of our South Asian traditions, faiths, and ancestors?

DESI EROS is an arts-based research project that explores these questions through six diasporic Desi women’s lived experiences of “reclaiming erotic power,” as described by their poignant poetry and prose: Shafina Ahmed, Roo Zine, Nisha Gupta, Seema Reza, Mary Ann Mohanraj, and Samra Habib. Each woman’s experience was analyzed for thematic meanings via a process of phenomenological data interpretation. These meanings are represented visually as surrealist folk paintings created by psychologist-artist Dr. Nisha Gupta as an interpretation of what “reclaiming erotic power” means for each woman. Each painting is accompanied by an essay seeking to help liberate and decolonize the meanings of erotic power for Desi women. Some of these meanings have been obscured by our history of being colonized by the British, whose traumatic legacy can distort our understandings of our own cultures, spiritualities, and sexualities. So, this is a work of decolonizing, reclaiming, and celebrating the power of being Desi.

Browse the website for art & research about reclaiming the erotic among Desi women, and to meet the talented artists breaking taboos in their work towards sexual and gender empowerment:

RECLAIMING VOICE

RECLAIMING FAITH

RECLAIMING DESIRE

RECLAIMING AUTONOMY

RECLAIMING WISDOM

RECLAIMING LOVE

ABOUT THE PROJECT

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