Episode 10: Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik & Lee Ann S. Wang

(un)making

Episode 10: Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik & Lee Ann S. Wang

By Weston Teruya May 12, 2017

Weston Teruya welcomes artists, arts administrators, and cultural workers of color to get real about their lives, practices, and careers. Each episode is an in-depth look into how art gets made, but more importantly how these folks are seeing to the system of art’s (UN)making.


In this episode, we shift formats slightly to hold a cross disciplinary conversation between artist and cultural organizer Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik along with legal scholar and academic Lee Ann S. Wang to discuss their shared interest in unraveling the destructive politics and rhetoric that shape public understanding of migration and immigration in the United States. Through their work in their respective fields and practices, Sita and Lee Ann open possibilities for new narratives beyond the bounds of the nation-state to create spaces to imagine collective liberation and alliances that center the knowledge of women of color and migrant communities.

We start by talking about Sita’s exhibition last fall, Estamos Contra el Muro, a collaborative project centered on a piñata wall that explored the cultural flow of food, labor, and people across the Americas. We also discuss Lee Ann’s writing about the ways even seemingly inclusive immigration policies can compel immigrant women escaping sexualized violence to participate in law enforcement actions through gendered and racialized frameworks of pure victimhood and the “good” immigrant. The conversation covers activism, the hierarchy of the senses, and the legibility of community based practices (and whether that matters).

You can follow Sita’s work on Instagram at @sitabhaumik and sitabhaumik.com. Sita has two current and upcoming projects with the People’s Kitchen Collective in the exhibition, Shifting Movements: Art Inspired by the Life & Activism of Yuri Kochiyama at SOMArts through May 25th; and Dark Roast, a party and BBQ at the Red Bay Coffee warehouse in East Oakland on May 13th. Sita is also a contributor to the book, Multiple Elementary, forthcoming from Black Dog Publishing. Lee Ann’s recent publication referenced in the discussion, “Unsettling Innocence: Rewriting The Law’s Invention of Immigrant Woman as Cooperator and Criminal Enforcer” can be found here.

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Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik is conceptual artist working with craft and food to tell the stories of migration. Sita holds a B.A. in Studio Art from Scripps College, an M.F.A. in interdisciplinary art, and an M.A. in Visual and Critical Studies from California College of the Arts where she currently teaches. She is also a co-founder of the People’s Kitchen Collective whose goal is to not only fill our stomachs but also nourish our souls, feed our minds, and fuel a movement.

Lee Ann S. Wang is a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at Berkeley School of Law and Assistant Professor of Law, Economics, and Public Policy and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at University of Washington Bothell. She received her BA in Asian American Studies and Political Science from Scripps College and doctoral degree in American Culture and APIA Studies from the University of Michigan. In the past she has worked as a legislative advocate, youth mentor, campaign organizer, and community researcher in Los Angeles, Detroit, and the Bay Area.

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