Visiting artist & healer Roopa Kaushik-Brown reflects on the beginnings of her Groundation Grenada residency. She shares insights from her trips around the island and from Healing Through Parenthood, Roopa’s workshop for new/expecting parents in Grenada. 

 

serenity.  a thing to aspire to.  the water vessels at the carenage are named to honor god, women, hopes and dreams, and serenity; a state of being we can all achieve, with great effort and confidence.  of course, liberation for all helps.

 

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belmont estate is a top destination spot in grenada.  it is a former plantation, and as with all plantation tourism, that fact makes the place lowkey creepy, no matter how nice the grounds are now.  for example, we had an amazing chocolate tasting of bars and even coco tea made from cacao beans grown right on the estate.  however, just prior to this deliciousness, i learned that this estate served as the ellis island for all indian laborers brought over in servitude to grenada. like belmont was the clearing ground and distribution site for 100% of the desi diaspora on the island.  for the month of june i was doing grant funded archival research in dc on india, yoga, early tourism and colonialisms at the smithsonian, the library of congress, and howard university.  i found ship records unearthing forced servitude of indians during that search too, from the east india company.  this photo is from some of the archives i saw at the on site museum at belmont.  just the names of the ships alone are enough to make me want to write a book of poems.

 

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on sunday, july 17, i held space for new parenthood at spice harmony yoga studio.  it was the first in my set of workshops as an artist in residence with groundation grenada.  as a child of diaspora, i don’t take this opportunity to teach in another, new to me country lightly.  it was very special to hear stories from a beautiful new mom, to make space for her to write, to read her writing, and hear my own experiences of motherhood reflected in her voice.  our babies played together in the yoga studio, bathed in purple, gleaming wood and fresh breeze.  this coming sunday, we will take our writings, blend them with writing from other new parents, and envision a zine together (a zine is a creative, self authored booklet). you are welcome to join us. here is a peak at the new parenthood writing being created:

 

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i am always amazed by the resiliency of writing.  it is there, ready to begin again with every single letter we etch onto paper, or press down on on the keyboard.  writing is there for me, even when i wish i had more time, writing is with me, willing me to keep on, word by word, page by page, and book by book.  when i was pregnant, my creative energy shifted inward, growing big in my cocoon.  now, i am happy to be in a doctoral program wherein rigorous writing is expected.  it is a blessing to be in a practice; a writing practice, a yoga practice, a guitar practice, a mindful mothering practice.  even and especially when life’s demands make it hard to find serenity, it is a blessing to be in practice.  and, emphatically, a blessing to be present, and here in grenada.  shout out to my partner reese, we just celebrated our one year wedding anniversary on the 19th at bathaway beach.  love is such a brave, brave thing.  i’m so honored to be brave, together.

 

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1422617_10152066697306663_1790595049_nRoopa Kaushik-Brown
Groundation Grenada Artist-in-Residence

Roopa works at the intersection of art, healing and social justice. She is a visual artist, certified pre-natal yoga instructor, doula and a new mom. She is also a licensed attorney and PhD student in Justice and Social Inquiry PhD at the School of Social Transformation (ASU). Her research areas include critical race theory and racial mobilities in law, hip-hop, and the contemplative practices. She holds a B.A. in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, with a certificate in South Asian Studies, from the University of Pittsburgh, a JD from Boalt School of Law, and an MA in Cinema Studies from NYU. In 2003, Roopa launched SAAPYA (South Asian American Perspectives on Yoga in America) via an ongoing series of groundbreaking panels and arts residencies elevating the voices of South Asian diasporic artists, activists, and academics talking yoga, race, cosmopolitanisms and cultural wars. www.roopakb.com

Roopa Kaushik-Brown’s Artist Residency – Week 1 Blog Post