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Border Crossings: An Erotic Affair? (In Conversation: Mesma Belsare and Sylvat Aziz)


WIA Projects, the JHI Program for the Arts, and Cultural Pluralism in the Arts present "Border Crossings: An Erotic Affair? In Conversation: Mesma Belsare and Sylvat Aziz". The event will take place on November 3, 2011 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm in the Leigha Lee Browne Theatre. All are welcome to attend.



Sylvat Aziz (Ontario/Pakistan) and Mesma Belsare (Boston) each live in a different country. In complex ways, they interweave gender, sexuality and artistic practice as they confront how dislocation, and their longing for relocation, is mapped on their bodies: for Belsare it is the dynamics of gender in dance; for Aziz a cultural critique. This project brings Aziz and Belsare (via Skype) together to present their creative work and to speak in conversation in the fall at the Scarborough campus of the University of Toronto. 




Mesma S. Belsare  is a Boston-based dancer, choreographer, actor, visual artist, and educator. She is formally trained in Bharatanatyam, a south Indian classical dance, and Carnatic vocal by Sri Shankar Hombal and Padmashri Geeta Chandrana. Her work is based on concepts of gender, gender-identity and sexuality, and the classical tradition of Nayaki Bhava (the voice the female protagonist) in traditional Bharatanatyam. Mesma has been described by The New York Times as a “tour de force, a true act of transcendence and religious immersion” and by The Dance Current Magazine as “a consummate dancer, as mesmerizing as staring into the heart of a fire”. 


Sylvat Aziz (MA, Literature; MA, Art) is a visual artist who currently teaches at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Her studies began in Lahore, Pakistan and then continued at the Pratt Institute in New York and Concordia University in Montreal. She has exhibited her sculpture and painting in Venice (Italy), Bradford (UK), New Delhi (India), and Lahore (Pakistan), and in many major public and university galleries in Canada. Her research focuses on problems of representation and the politics of space in early Islamic art and architecture and the influences, conflicts and compromises addressed therein.

© University of Toronto Scarborough