2016 - Present
Buoy is an iOS app that lets you exchange thoughts with passersby and meet one another if you resonate.
Buoy was launched June 2018 with a community gathering at our very first Hub: Backyard Brew in Palo Alto.
Buoy hopes to create deeper community in urban areas, making neighbors from passersby and frontporches from sidewalks. We therefore think it is essential that Buoy is rooted in and works in deep harmony with the physical spaces that already allow people to gather.
Email us to bring Buoy to your space or community!
Ithaka Cooperative is a diverse cooperative community of 30 twenty-to-forty-somethings, housed in neighboring houses in Palo Alto.
I co-managed this community, which has evolved and flourished for eight years, particularly serving the social and mental wellbeing of its members.
In this capacity, I worked to help members feel safe, supported, and thriving by organizing spaces for 1) bonding, through all-house gatherings and the first-ever reunion of 8 generations 2) sharing, through open mics and showcases of independent artists, and 3) healing, through women's circles, healing workshops, and small-group counsels.
And, with a team, I worked to reimagine, recruit, & reform Ithaka to better support flourishing of QPOC. Photo by Vanessa Gomez.
Reporting from the Belly of the Night
2017, in collaboration with Sojourner Ahebee
REPORTING is a creative collaboration with poet Sojourner Ahebee, whose debut collection of 14 poems we've woven with 11 of my original art pieces to tell stories of violence and healing.
In Sojourner's words "the collection is a meditation on Black femininity & the ways in which black women are uniquely vulnerable to violence in their homes, schools, public/digital spaces, both locally and transnationally across time and borders."
The visual series I contributed was created as a means of and ode to the radical persistence of keeping ourselves alive with our own two hands, of bringing up the deepest, most painful parts of the self to the surface and making them seen, under the forces that threaten to erode us.
Find the paperback chapbook here.
Self, Preserving for Nasty Women Exhibition
2017, at Impact Hub Oakland
SELF, PRESERVING was the piece I contributed to Nasty Women Exhibition, a group art show featuring femme artists' responses to the political climate.
Caption: "Maybe the most bold and chilling love is the present enduring all odds to keep the future afloat. Thank you to our past for holding the weight of our present, and our present as we fight to hold up our future."
In the months since the election, millions together have been undergoing a fundamental attack on their existence. Now, is the time when we enact this bold and chilling love, for ourselves and our communities, to reclaim who we are and keep afloat who we will become. "Nasty", now and always!
The show was sold out, and all $42,000 in sales were donated to Planned Parenthood.
Of Home, Audio Stories from 3 Resettled Families
OF HOME is a collection of audio stories recorded through conversations with three families, all of whom had recently resettled, from Burma and Syria, to Northern California through the IRC.
I collected these audio stories, in collaboration with immigrant rights journalist Jaya Padmanabhan and IRC Oakland, and displayed them as a part of family portraits for Burma to the Bay, a fundraising event where families share stories and food with each other and the community.
Burma to the Bay, 2016, collected a total of $45,000 to benefit the IRC's refugee resettlement programs in Northern California.
Familiars is a series of watercolor portraits & short narratives of strangers I cross(ed) paths with.
My hope is to capture and recirculate the feeling of warmth and serendipity that comes from a "stranger" becoming familiar.
The series is a part of a larger social media collective, the #100daysproject by Elle Luna, which involves creating for 100 days to honor and make room for your art.
“Click" is a Natural Language Processing algorithm that measures relevance between any two personal narratives (i.e. long-form, first-person content).
Personal narratives, shared increasingly online, present volumes of untapped data for representing identity through natural language. I was interested in the social applications of this data, and developed Click as a means to "match" individuals through relevance between their personal narratives.
Click employs a "motif dictionary" to access the unique, identity-capturing features of personal narratives that generic similarity models are not tailored to measure. Click matched human judgment in overall trends, but overlooked particular nuances.
Find the complete paper here.
"Fuse" is a dress designed and sewn from 6 yards of reclaimed sari fabric for a material redesign competition.
The goal of this piece was to reclaim Indian aesthetics from frequent alteration and appropriation in western fashion, by creating a fusion of the two cultures that preserves the sanctity of each.
Find photos of the process here.
Model, Laetitia Walendom.
2011, in collaboration with Seeds of Empowerment
1001 Stories is an initiative I collaborated on to encourage children in underprivileged areas to hone their creativity and literacy for self-empowerment.
In each community, we host a workshop to help children share and publish the stories they want to tell; then, we funnel the profits from each sold book back to the child author's education.
In early 2011, I led the team to rural schools near my hometown in India to implement one of the first 1001 Stories workshops. These pilots were transformational for us, as we iterated on how to design prompts that foster the vulnerability and creative confidence required for each child to bring forth the stories inside of them.
Find more about the workshops and stories here.