DESI EROS is an arts-based phenomenological research project about the lived experience of reclaiming erotic power among women from the South Asian diaspora. This project features the remarkable work of six diasporic Desi writers who are breaking taboos about South Asian women’s sexuality: Shafina Ahmed, Roo Zine, Nisha Gupta, Seema Reza, Mary Ann Mohanraj, and Samra Habib: www.desieros.com
RESEARCH PROCESS: I engaged in a phenomenological data interpretation process of each woman’s narrative to unearth core meanings of reclaiming erotic power within their lived experience. Then, I expressed these thematic meanings as surrealist folk art, with South Asian cultural symbols embedded in each painting. I experienced a literal decolonization of my South Asian American psyche while creating this artwork: the symbolic images in each painting emerged by a transpersonal process of being intuitively led by Divine Imagination, which awakened in me deeper understandings of our indigenous, pre-colonial South Asian cultures that I did not know before.
RESEARCH FINDINGS: The art can be viewed at www.desieros.com accompanied by essays that aim to 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.
BUY ART: DESI EROS limited edition fine art prints for sale on Etsy. 100% of proceeds will be donated to: the Sahaita Indian Farmer Support Project; Sakhi for South Asian Women non-profit organization for survivors of domestic violence; and the South Asian Sexual & Mental Health Alliance (SASMHA).