Art Exhibit by Grishma Shah at Harold Washington Library Center

In celebration of Disability Awareness Month, Harold Washington Library Center hosts an art exhibit featuring the work of artist Grishma Shah. Shah's exhibit, The South Asian Perspective, will be on display July 2 through July 31 in the exhibit cases on the 3rd floor.

Artist Exhibit Narrative

“As children, we know how to be in the present moment. Nothing else matters. Not Religion. Not Cast. Not Creed. Not Status. Not Color. Not Gender.

"As teenagers, we learn about our bodies and our minds. We are introduced to heritage, and culture. We observe fasts for good husbands. We learn from where our families came and how hard they have worked to preserve sacred traditions. We learn about traditional dance. The different types and regions they hail from. The amount of dedication it takes.

"As adult women, we are well-versed in tradition and cultural beliefs. We have been taught good “sanskars” (values). Our parents and other elders from the community start to realize just how grown up we really have become, as we wear our “saris” and other ethnic dresses. It is time for the fasts we willingly observed to come to fruition. With the knowledge we learned as daughters, we move on to become wives, daughters-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts and mothers. So the legacy of what was, can be passed down to the next generation.

"Through the journey of life, what would happen if the experiences of a South Asian woman were slightly different? As a teenager, with her fasts she was given a side dish of chemotherapy; as a young adult woman, she became an amputee. She single-handedly learned how to navigate life again while learning good “sanskars” along the way. When she wears a “sari” and other ethnic dresses, she looks beautiful and all grown up, ready for her community elders to take notice. But, they do not. This too is a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. The knowledge she learned as a daughter will likely stay with her forever. This is her “karma” (destiny). Or is it?"

Grishma Shah Biography

Grishma Shah is a Chicago-based mixed-media artist, amputee and maker of her own destiny. She believes stories have the power to transform and art has the right to be touched, to be truly felt. The South Asian Perspective is her narrative and a yearlong process in the making.

Artist Statement

“It was amongst the beautiful chaos of storytelling and mixed media, I found my calling.”