The Indian American community should prioritize supporting artists to preserve cultural heritage and promote creativity


If a child’s goal is to be a surgeon, a judge, or a Baron of Wall Street, we celebrate. We support their choice and rest easy, knowing that their profession will provide them and their families with status in the community and financial security.

But what if the child wants to grow up to be an artist? Do we try to convince them to take a more traditional path? Do we fear our community will see us as bad parents and our children as failures? Why aren’t we as supportive of the artists in our community as we are of doctors and lawyers?

In this edition of “From the Easel” five accomplished artists take a critical look at the challenges facing Indian artists and the paradox of making a living while making art.

Vinod Dave

 “…Putting greater emphasis on supporting the artists among us can have many benefits.

Owning Indian art can be a way to connect with one’s roots and preserve traditional artistic expressions and can help preserve and promote the rich cultural heritage of India within the diaspora community…

“Art can also transcend cultural boundaries, allowing Indian American artists to connect with diverse audiences, fostering understanding and appreciation among different communities…and can serve as a medium for artists to explore their own identity and cultural roots, encouraging conversations about the complexities of being Indian American…Through art, Indian American artists can challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about the community, offering a more nuanced and authentic portrayal.

“Indian art can also be an investment opportunity.  Some Indian art forms have shown an appreciable value over time.”

 Sajal Sakar

 “After moving to the USA…I had a strong feeling of getting lost, facing an existential and identity crisis in this country. That we are not needed…

“There are a lot of talented and dedicated artists among us who are working very hard to continue their art practice despite several financial difficulties. The Indian community is flourishing, and their support of the artist community will enrich contemporary Indian art and show the world of art that we are no less than any international artist.”

Abhishek Tuiwala

“The Indian community should prioritize supporting its artists to preserve cultural heritage and promote creativity. Art education in schools and collaborations with institutions are crucial to encourage the new generation. Due to a lack of knowledge and support, despite having excellent skills, many Indians don’t think about pursuing the art field in the United States and end up having a career in the areas where they feel good financial security.

“Artists expand the definition of Indian American identity by challenging stereotypes, embracing cultural fusion, and advocating for diverse voices. Their work fosters empathy and understanding, contributing to a more inclusive and dynamic knowledge of Indian American experiences. Emphasizing support for Indian artists enriches the cultural fabric of the United States while fostering pride and connection among the Indian diasporas. Additionally, it bolsters the economy through art-related industries, showcasing the Indian community’s contributions to the nation’s creative landscape.”

Ela Shah

“In my generation, you would get scared if your grandchild said, ‘I want to be an artist or a musician or a writer.’ Some believed art was only for decoration or entertainment, or as a hobby or fun… (and that) one should not try to make money with their art…It hasn’t changed much but if this situation applies to you, please try to understand them and their art…. encourage your kids to pursue their dreams because if they go into something with less than their full heart, we risk them being unhappy and frustrated in whatever they choose…Support the artistic community by understanding, appreciating, and buying art for your home and businesses.”

Salma Arastu

“I support the idea of the Indian community investing in Indian artists and supporting artists in the diaspora. To get the new generation of Indians involved with the art of Indian artists is a good idea. Perhaps we as Indian artists must come together and hold group shows nationally to awaken the interest in our art. We must work together as a community to draw the attention of young Indians who can invest, and we will draw the attention of other communities as well.

If we organize exhibitions nationwide and show solidarity perhaps that will help us establish in the US as an Indian artists community.”



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here