She is also a poet and performance artist whose work has appeared in numerous journals and in four anthologies. Her poem "Bodies of Water" was nominated for the Pushcart Prize after being selected by writer Meena Alexander to appear in the Asian Pacific American Journal. In San Francisco, she has performed at the Luna Sea Women's Performance Project, A Different Light Queer Readers & Writers Conference, the New College, 848 Community Space, the Women's Building, Asian Blacks Latinas Uniting New Tribes, and the Asian American Theater. She also performed at the 1998 Desh Pardesh festival in Toronto and went on tour with the New York-based Asian American Writers Workshop in Southern California.
Hajratwala is an inaugural writing fellow for 1999-2000 of the Sundance Institute, participating in the creation of a new body of writing about film. In 1997 she received a residency at Hedgebrook Cottages, a retreat for women writers on Whidbey Island in Washington state. She is a former board member of Trikone: Lesbian and Gay South Asians (guest-editing the "Spice, Girl?" food issue of Trikone magazine) and of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, where she launched the nation's first sexual-orientation-in-the-workplace training program for newspaper and broadcast companies. She is a graduate of Stanford University, where she was a founding editor of Aurora: A magazine of feminisms and a founding member of the Queerland student group.
In commemoration of World AIDS Day, 1999, and in conjunction with the
exhibition The Arts of the Sikh Kingdoms, the Asian Art Museum is
presenting a special world premiere production by Minal Hajratwala:
AVATARS: GODS FOR A NEW MILLENNIUM
Sunday, November 28, 1999, 2:00 p.m.
Will be performed again at the Luna Sea Women's Performance Project in San Francisco, Feb 18-19, 2000.
Ms. Hajratwala's AVATARS: Gods for a New Millennium is the story of one young woman's journey of religious exploration at the end of the twentieth century. Beginning with reflections on the strict patriarchy of an American Hindu community and a humorous critique of how Asian spirituality is filtered through white American culture, the performance's central theme is the creation -- through self-discovery -- of a new religion. Its pantheon of explosive, intercultural deities reign over and accept supplication for the concerns of a postmodern age -- from AIDS to abortion to art itself. At the boundaries of theater, cult ritual and poetry, the artist incarnates herself as original, fearsome divinities never before experienced on the planet: the Goddess of Tough Love, the Aborted Buddha, the Goddess of Absence (Paleface). Each deity has a story to tell, many based in reality; the God/dess of AIDS, for example, describes how s/he was born - first as a half-male, half-female incarnation of the Hindu god Shiva at the beginning of the universe; and second as the patron deity of people with HIV, in a small Indian village in the year 1999.
For more info see www.asianart.org