jhani randhawa (they/them)

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Heimbold Visual Arts Center
Thymele Arts
Woolen Mill Gallery
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rivulet
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el Rincon
Scultpure
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Long form research


I am researching colonial dictations of racial and gender formations mediated through ecology and farm labor in the Indian Ocean circuit from the late 1800s–1980s as part of a larger hybrid project on queer ancestors, anti-colonial solidarity movements, pre-colonial migration and spiritualities, and archival practices. From this research so many threads appear: speculation and erasure in archival marginalia, sport and leisure among militarized colonial subjects, industrialized sugarcane experiments, labor and land laws, Black and Asian solidarities, novel gender expressions, non-human animal husbandry, medical/biological policing, millenarian rebellions, climate crises and famine, caste-race-gender-class-delineated “Love Laws,” anti-colonial independence movements, and more.

This research blossomed from my own family’s experience and mobility from indenture to land-ownership as colonial subjects in India and Kenya, and later the U.K. and the American South.

Currently, this research is building the bedrock of material upon which I am writing a book-length collection of autofictions. You can read sample excerpts in the publications O BOD, rivulet, and forthcoming in 128 Lit. I will also weave this research into my graduate study at the University of London.


Fragments


While I was in residence at Writers House Pittsburgh (2022), an accidental new writing emerged. Taking notes and fragments of writing from 2015–2016 and braiding them together with an ongoing reading practice/study of ice as a trope in Romantic-era poetry and colonial medical travelogues, I began working on a loose project. Its themes are leisure, anti-police protest, years preceding a change in pronouns, love as a practice, trans*oceanic solidarity. In this project, Dr. Frankenstein’s glorious Creature is introduced, as are the theorists Mbembe and Levinas. In this project, tsunami could be the Shelley-esque icefloe, what precedes it, what emerges after a warming of the sea of ethics.

You can read a sampling in the Poetry Project’s Footnotes


More to come...


Chapbooks, essay, micro-fictions, and photo collections are in the works :)