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AAPI Month: "City of Faith" exhibit opens at The Museum of the City of New York

East Harlem gallery exhibition highlights South Asian communities
East Harlem gallery exhibition highlights South Asian communities 02:14

NEW YORK -- As we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, CBS2 is shining a light on an exhibition honoring the art, activism and joy of the city's South Asian communities.

CBS2 was given a gallery tour of a new exhibition at The Museum of the City of New York.

Our guide was Dr. Azra Dawood, the exhibition curator for "City of Faith: Religion, Activism, and Urban Space," an art show focusing primarily on South Asian-American communities.

"You find Muslims, you find Hindus, you find Sikhs. If you collapsed protestants and Catholics into one group, Muslims become the third highest (group)," Dawood said.

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Dawood showed us a sculpture titled "A Love Supreme" by the artist Tinais. The piece is visualized as a big page of sheet music, adorned with rope incense arranged as musical notes.

"The mix of fragrances is frankincense, musk, Sandalwood, and Rose and the intention is to be really bold about fragrance and to celebrate it and use it to kind of think critically about the long history of Muslims in the U.S.," Dawood said.

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We were shown a series of five portraits. Dawood explained they "focus on Sikh New Yorkers," adding, "Sikh Americans were some of the first South Asians to arrive on this land. More recently after 9/11, they have been misidentified as Muslim, right, and because of the turbans for example, that they wear."

Other series of photos in the exhibition are set in outdoor spaces. Dawood praised the "joyful aesthetic" as "intentionally public and sometimes unintentionally political."

Taking up another wall is "Jasmine Blooms At Night" by Jaishri Abichandani.

It features multiple portraits on a single canvas, including one in the center that shows a pair of best friends.

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In the center of the same gallery are pages from a book titled "Curb," which explores violence against South Asian Americans in public space in the U.S.

The art and activism in the work includes various takes on the history of police surveillance in their neighborhoods.

"City of Faith" is at the Museum of the City of New York" in East Harlem through October. For more information, please click here.

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