8 South Asian artistes who are changing the way the West looks at desi culture

Dressed in the new Gucci X Dapper Dan capsule collection — statement leather, ostentatious embroidery and oversized silhouettes — eight South Asian artistes discuss creative expression in turbulent times and the importance of staying true to yourself. This rings especially true when faced with crisis, as rapper Himanshu Suri discovered in the aftermath of 9/11. “I was surrounded by a lot of South Asian Americans. Regardless of whether you were Hindu or Muslim or Guyanese or Trinidadian or Bangladeshi, we all had to unite under a banner of survival.” Like Suri, a deep connection to her ethnic roots is what helped Samyukta Madhu establish herself as a name to watch out for in New York’s already crowded cultural scene. “While NYC really influenced me, I also have a deep foothold in India, which is why my work juxtaposes itself in a way that mixes eastern and western influences.”  

From Suri and Madhu to rising stars Hari Kondabolu and Maria Qamar, meet the cultural changemakers who you’ll soon be seeing everywhere.      

8 South Asian artistes you need to follow, now 

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Photographs: Colston Julian

Styling: Malini Banerji

Hair: Tony Kelley/Kramer+kramer; Make-up: Steffen Zoll;

Production: Isabel Scharenberg; assisted by: Divya Gursahani and Riya Khanna (styling),

Hector Adalid (lighting),

Shane Rooney (digital);

Location: Ruby Bird Studio; stay courtesy: the Knickerbocker hotel (a member of leading hotels of the world), New York

all prices on request


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