Indian American artist wins $30K grant

Rakhee Jain was selected for the cash grant under BIG We Foundation’s SheStories program

Rakhee Jain / Instagram/rdjartist

The BIG We Foundation (BWF), an arts and cultural intermediary, has awarded Texas-based Indian American artist with a grant to fund a project rooted in South Asian culture.

Rakhee Jain was awarded the grant for her project named ‘Beyond the Sari’, under BWF’s SheStories program, which is open to Black, Indigenous, Latina/e, Asian American and Pacific Islanders, multiracial, and femme-identifying women storytellers with a desire to change the world.

Jain’s project is a “compilation of intergenerational stories dedicated to capturing, preserving and sharing the lived experiences of South Asian women who migrated to Texas during the 1960s-1980s,” according to a statement.

She was selected alongside a cohort of five diverse creators from the fields of music, law, filmmaking, and activism, among others.

Jain is a multidisciplinary artist who works with textiles/fiber in her paintings, public art, moving images, sculptures, and installations, to narrate personal stories within her community. Her South Asian identity informs both her subject matter and techniques and her work is particularly focused on immigrant identity, belonging, and place, her website states.

Jain is known for integrating ethnic craft methods in her work such as Batik, a wax resist technique from Indonesia. She views the ancient craft methods as a means of storytelling and further views the combination of modern materials – both hard and soft – as an appropriate way to weave memories of the past with the hopes of the future.

Her work has been exhibited in the US, Singapore, and Portugal. One of her murals, called ‘A Place to Call Home,’ is on permanent view at the Austin Bergstrom International Airport in Texas. She was also commissioned by the City of Houston to create ‘Folding Stories’ -- suspended sculptures that celebrate the history and multicultural diversity of the Southwest Houston neighborhood of Alief.