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New York-based artists, Priyanka Dasgupta and Chad Marshall, collaborative projects are located in the gaps between history and story-telling, and draw from archival texts, sociological conventions, oral histories, postmodern theory and postcolonial studies, to examine power and privilege in the United States. The artists’ current work is inspired by the lost histories of Bengali sailors who, passing as Black in the early twentieth century, settled into communities of color in the wake of anti-Asian immigration laws in the United States. For their installation at the Dodd Galleries, Pigeonhole, Dasgupta and Marshall create a multidisciplinary portrait of Bahauddin (Bobby) Alam, a Bengali peddler and lascar who migrated to the United States in the early twentieth century and lived as a Black jazz musician in order to circumvent the Asiatic Barred Zone Act of 1917. The installation stages Alam’s dressing room, arranged with objects that reflect his secret life, including memorabilia and recordings from his prolific music career. The exhibition is curated by Dodd Visiting Assistant Professor, Courtney McClellan.
Dasgupta and Marshall have exhibited at Wave Hill, New York; Cuchifritos Gallery, New York; Abrons Arts Center, New York; Sculpture Center, New York, the Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia, and the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, Milwaukee.