Ready to Heal / Ready to Grieve

Ready to Heal / Ready to Grieve was an interactive installation, by me and Purvi Shah at Queens Theatre, on October 17, 23, & 24, 2021. Throughout the day, participants collectively mapped and memorialized on the installation how they encounter and have encountered healing and grief, alongside their stories of future healing. In the space, participants could connect with themselves and with one another, after a year of isolations changed the shapes of grief and healing in all our lives.

Pink reflected healing; silver reflected grief. Semi-circles reflected “I”; crescents reflected “we.” The paths of healing and grief were many; one person’s path to healing was another person’s path to grief; family was a source of both healing and grief in one person’s heart. Climate change and cheating lay heavy on many souls.

Purvi and I were among 3,000 New York City-based artists to receive a grant through the City Artist Corps Grants program, presented and launched by The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), with support from the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) and Queens Theatre. Thank you to Dominic, Jay, Gabriel, and Norma of Queens Theatre for arranging multiple days of events in just a few short months! Thank you to Cindy Trinh for taking most of these photos!

Over three award cycles, artists received $5,000 grants to engage New Yorkers in Summer and Fall 2021. The program was funded by the $25 million New York City Artist Corps recovery initiative announced by Mayor de Blasio and DCLA in early 2021. Grants supported NYC artists who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. 


Weave&Woven was a collaboration with the extraordinary Purvi Shah at NurtureArt in 2017. Over a short, two-week residency, we wanted to find a way to test out new ways of collaborating in space and reflect with others on how we inhabit the sacred, in a time of heightened surveillance and criminalization of immigrants and communities of color. The result was a community-engaged activity in partnership with NurtureArt and Sadhana.

Make Your Self Meek / Make Your Self Vast

Make Your Self Meek / Make Your Self Vast was a collaboration between me and the amazing Purvi Shah, shown at the LMCC Workspace Open Studios in April 2017. It surfaced how our bodies express our feelings; how our states of mind-soul show up in our bodies; and how the bridges between body and mind-soul affect how we engage and see the world. 

Participants were invited to embody and express the phrase Make Your Self Meek and reflect on how the words and their expression of them shaped their consciousness. They then expressed Make Your Self Vast in a similar way, reflecting on how sensations and thoughts shifted with their bodies. Participants took their shoes off, touching the space, sitting with us, moving, and writing about their state of mind. As they walked this short journey, we heard reflections on the role of gender and race in how we express ourselves and where we carry our tensions, and unspoken stories in deep breaths, released energy, and rest.

2 Minutes to Midnight

In 2018 and 2019, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists announced that the Doomsday Clock had reached “2 minutes to midnight.” For 70 years, the Clock has been a symbol for how close we are to a man-made disaster, where midnight is a point of no return. What is two minutes to midnight for New Yorkers? And what can we do about it? 

Sparked by an individual artist grant via the Queens Council on the Arts, I was invited by the amazing Jaime Faye-Bean to install a public work at Bliss Plaza. Rather than showing only my own work, I invited several other amazing artists to help Queens residents explore and linger on 2 minutes. My hope was for New York’s public spaces to become interaction hubs enabling local communities to connect with their creativity and surface solutions in different ways. The end result, 2 Minutes to Midnight, was a free, interactive outdoor co-creation lab under the 7 train.

Glass Hours and 2 Minutes to Midnight was supported by Sunnyside Shines and the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Featuring these amazing artists and thinkers:

  • Queens Writers Resist, ft. Pam Reyes and Kay Ottinger

Glass Cards

What does it mean to forget? What makes the future feel urgent, in need of care? These questions were part of Glass Hours, an installation at Bliss Plaza in Sunnyside, Queens, in 2019, thanks to support from Sunnyside Shines and the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. They were also the foundation for a simple card game of memory and color.

When I tried this game at home with my husband, memories silent for decades bubbled up. We also remembered details in them that we hadn’t ever noticed. Our recollection of certain colors was more vivid. There are also many things we don’t want to remember. But that didn’t mean we shouldn’t have.

There are 2 groups of cards in a deck, each broken into 2 subgroups. There were 4 variations on the game, and not all games use the whole deck.


They are justice.

They are the Arisen. In their world, magical powers emerge from tests of wisdom. In their galaxy, abundance is a whispering spirit. In their universe…

Heroes rise in secret and the sacred. Mysteries and origin stories unfold across a vast landscape of time and space. Epic battles, sorrows, and triumphs reshape suns, moons, and stars.

Their stories are real, in a growing universe with Make Justice Normal.

More coming soon.


Before games was an almost-painful love of color and form, sitting 2 inches from a 5-foot canvas and marveling at the weave.

Urbanized Religion

Giving Space / Changing Space

Giving Space / Changing Space was an interactive experience Purvi Shah and I created on September 17, 2022 in Travers Park, Jackson Heights, Queens, a few blocks from my home. We asked two simple questions to our neighbors. How do you give to this space? And how does this space give to you? While some interpreted space as physical and spatial, like the park, others reflected on it more spiritually or conceptually, like space in their life or consciousness. As active participants in the Jackson Heights community, we hoped to create a simple moment where creativity wove into the fabric of a lively public park in one of New York’s most diverse neighborhoods.

In a time of anti-Asian backlash and xenophobia, art continues to serve as a force for healing, community building, and change. Anjali Deshmukh & Purvi Shah were among 30 artists to receive a $500 grant through the Asian American Arts Alliance’s inaugural program “What Can We Do?” — which supported creative projects rooted in care and support for the AAPI community in NYC.

Who Are You Are

In this card game, within the visual installation at Propelify Innovation Festival called “I Do Not Walk In a Dream,” participants interacted with a deck of cards and a card dealer to illuminate the core characteristics of their personality and ways of engaging with the world. Written and developed by me, these cards break down 26 personality types, which can combine in different ways to cumulatively illuminate to us who we are, are not, and who we might want to be.

  • Pick a card. Think about how the card is different from or similar to who you are. If it’s a lot like you, what would you amplify? Do you notice areas of resistance in this way of being? If so, how do you or can you work with this resistance? If the card is not a lot like you, what do you admire about this way of being?
  • Set an intention for the day. How might you lean in to this way of being, as a performance or act of Self-artistry?