Assembled for the first time in New York, Suneil Sanzgiri’s recent body of work (2019 – 2021) explores the richness and density of questions surrounding identity, memory, diaspora, and decolonization in South Asia. Blending 16mm film, desktop aesthetics, 3D renderings, and direct animation, Sanzgiri’s films utilize an aesthetics of distance and proximity to gesture to tensions, possibilities, and replications of what we find when we search for ourselves in the remnants of colonial histories.
Spanning events and figures like the liberation of Goa in 1961, the 1955 Bandung Conference, the caste abolitionist B.R. Ambedkar, the poet Agha Shahid Ali, and the continued occupation of Kashmir, “Borobar Jagtana” takes its title from a line in Golden Jubilee (2021) loosely translated to “continuously living, surviving” in Sanzgiri’s father’s native language of Konkani. Sanzgiri was joined by artist, filmmaker and writer Tiffany Sia for a post-screening Q&A.
Presented by Asia Art Archive in America and Pioneer Works.
Suneil Sanzgiri is an artist, researcher, and filmmaker. His work spans experimental video and film, essays, and installations, and contends with questions of identity, heritage, culture and diaspora in relation to structural violence. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a Masters of Science in Art, Culture and Technology in 2017. His film At Home But Not At Home made its World Premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, in January 2020, with a nomination for the Found Footage Award. His follow-up film Letter From Your Far-Off Country made its world premiere at the New York Film Festival in Fall 2020, and was entered into the Ammodo Tiger Shorts Competition at IFFR in 2021. Sanzgiri’s work has been screened extensively at festivals and galleries nationally and internationally, including Sheffield Doc/Fest, Hong Kong International Film Festival, Camden International Film Fesitval, IndieLisboa, DocLisboa, Punto de Vista, Viennale, LA Film Forum, e-Flux, 25 FPS festival, and has won awards at BlackStar Film Fest, Open City Documentary Festival, VideoEx, Images Festival, as well as Special Jury mentions at the European Media Arts Festival and Iowa City Docs. Sanzgiri was a 2016 resident of the SOMA program in Mexico City, a Flaherty NYC co-programmer in 2020 – 2021, a resident of the Pioneer Works Studio Residency in Spring 2021, an inaugural recipient of the Line of Sight Fellowship, and will be a MacDowell Fellow in Winter 2021. He was named as one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in Filmmaker Magazine’s Fall 2021 issue.
Tiffany Sia (b. 1988, Hong Kong) is an artist, filmmaker, and writer. She is the author of 咸濕 Salty Wet, a chapbook published by Inpatient Press in 2019, and the artist book sequel, Too Salty Too Wet 更咸更濕, published through Speculative Place Press in 2021. Sia is the director of the experimental short Never Rest/Unrest, which screened at Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival in a retrospective on her work, MoMA Documentary Fortnight in a special program, Crisis News is a Genre Film, and at Prismatic Ground (presented by Maysles Documentary Center and Screen Slate). Her latest short Do Not Circulate world premiered at the New York Film Festival. Sia has exhibited at Artists Space (New York), the Douglas Hyde Gallery (Dublin, Ireland), Manchester International Festival (Manchester, UK), Chen’s (New York), Blindspot Gallery (Hong Kong), and elsewhere. She is the founder of Speculative Place, an experimental project space established on Lamma Island, hosting residents in film, art, and writing and soon to relaunch as an apparitional project space. Invested in challenging the politics of placehood and the boundaries of print/media distribution, Sia has a joint degree in Film Studies and Asian Studies from Bard College and has been the recipient of a Fulbright-Hays scholarship.
Borobar Jagtana: Three Films by Suneil Sanzgiri is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.