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Talk / Lecture

Lecture by Nayan Shah: After Viola—Finding Shelter among Strangers in Overlapping Migrations

February 9, 2020 | 2:00PM - 3:00PM

Inspired by Rina Banerjee’s fierce and fantastic sculpture, Viola, from New Orleans-ah, an African Woman…, (2017), this talk explores the effects of overlapping migrations on individual lives more than a century ago. Banerjee’s muse was Viola Ida Lewis, an African American woman who married Joseph Abdin, a Bengali sailor and peddler, in 1906. Thousands of South Asian men married Black, Puerto Rican, Jamaican, Mexican-American, and Eastern European women and worked alongside them in North American ports, lumber mills, orchards, and cotton fields. These unexpected unions linked immigrants of disparate origins, helped them overcome isolation and estrangement, and created new cultures. Free and open to all.

Nayan Shah is Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity and History at USC. A reception will follow the talk.

Cosponsored by the UCLA Center for India and South Asian Studies (CISA).

Related ExhibitionRina Banerjee: Make Me a Summary of the World
This retrospective includes large-scale installations and sculptures made from materials sourced from around the world as well as a selection of works on paper that create a multisensory space for reflecting on the splintered experience of identity, tradition, and culture within diasporic communities.


Parking available in UCLA Lot 4, 398 Westwood Plaza, directly off Sunset Blvd
$3/hr or max $13/day. Rideshare drop-off 305 Royce Drive.

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