Not a Place on the Map: The Desh Pardesh Project
Desh Pardesh (“home away from home” in Hindustani) was a groundbreaking multidisciplinary arts festival that took hold of the GTA from 1988-2001. Desh was dedicated to providing a venue for underrepresented and marginalized voices within the South Asian diaspora. Programming and conversations about feminism, class, sexuality, access, disability, race, caste, imperialism, and capitalism were central to the festival’s existence.
Drawing from the history of Desh Pardesh, Not a Place on a Map facilitates intergenerational relationships between artists and activists of colour based in Toronto. This three-year initiative includes an oral history project about Desh, a mentorship program, social gatherings, exhibitions, workshops, and the development of a digital archive.
When it is released in June 2017, this digital collection will feature interviews with Desh members, alongside rare photographs and video footage of the festival. It will provide glimpses of the socio-political context into which Desh inserted itself, as well as a series of snapshots of the urgent and complex home away from home the festival served for so many.
Desh inspired and fostered the growth of many artistic and community-based initiatives, including SAVAC.