Sunita S. Mukhi is a cultural producer, theater/performance artist, and an interdisciplinary performance scholar.
As the pioneering Director of the Charles B. Wang Center’s Asian/American Programming at the State University of New York in Stony Brook, Sunita S. Mukhi produced innovative programming in light of promoting a multi-faceted, intellectually sound and humane understanding of Asianness. She presented artists of international caliber such as Eiko and Koma, Nirtyagram, Roksonaki, Kadri Gopalnath, Chandrashekhar, Kenny Endo, Kenichi Ebina, Arif Lohar, Salman Ahmad, and Niyaz; edgy contemporary performers like D’Lo, Christina Wong, Rizwan Mirza, Taiyo Na and YaliniDream; popular comedians like Russell Peters, Eliot Chang, Vidur Kapur, Rex Navarette, Dean Obedaillah and Maysoon Zahid amongst others. She has also curated a number of exhibitions such as Art Healing Space and Who is Asia America? and film series such as Asian Loving, To Sing! To Dance! To Live!, and Odd Couplings. Jessica Hagedorn, Madhur Jaffrey, Sari Lluch Dalena, Ella Shohat, various Ambassadors, political leaders and many inspirational speakers have shared their insights with the campus community as part of the Center’s programming. She was instrumental in initiating and animating an artistic and academic exchange with East China Normal University (ECNU), Shanghai and Stony Brook University (SBU) which resulted in a multi-media exhibition entitled Recycling and Reincarnation, and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the presidents of ECNU and SBU for future collaborations. Under her leadership, the Wang Center was chosen by the Smithsonian Institute as the only venue in New York for the Filipino American exhibition Singgalot – the Ties That Bind: Filipinos in America. It included a discussion with independent film maker John Sayles and a screening of his film Amigo. Until February, 2013, she produced over 500 programs.
Her book entitled Doing the Desi Thing: Performing Indianness in New York City was published in year 2000 by Taylor and Francis. Her work appears in the anthologies Contours of the Heart, A Patchwork Shawl and in the Little India magazine and in the anthology Desilicious: Sexy, Subversive, South Asian. Her essay on “Desi America: 10 Years after 9/11” was published in the Asian American Literary Journal last September 2011.
She has developed courses on Indian Cinema(s)and Indian Culture, Contemporary Performance and Film in the South Asian American Communities, Cultures of the South Asian Diaspora, Asian American Contemporary Performance, and Asian American Film and Society. For the study abroad program in Bangalore (2006 to 2008), she acted as assistant director and designed and taught two courses: Experiencing Contemporary IndiaandContemporary Performance in India.
She conceptualizes, presides over, participates in, and moderates numerous panel discussions, and gives lectures and addresses on topics ranging from identity and the politics of representation, performativity, arts, and the South Asian diaspora. She has appeared as a discussant and moderator in numerous episodes of the public television series Asian America and Asian Indian Immigrant Experience.
She has performed, directed and choreographed in university, community, and professional theatrical, television and film productions in Manila, United States, Mexico and Singapore. She continues to write poetry and stories, and performs. Her most recent performance works are on sexuality, women’s power, the slipperiness of identity and other yearnings such as It’s a Drag Being an Indian Woman and Cornucopia. Liberty’s New Wedding Day is a tongue-in-cheek indictment against imperialism and terror. As a story-teller, she has composed and performed tales with dynamic women as central characters such as Kalahati, the Half-Girl, Butterfly and the Pin Man, Princess Guddi Saves NYC, and Brown Fox. White Tiger, amongst others. Her poetry blog Both Beautiful with sculptor Alton Falcone appears on http://bothbeautiful.blogspot.com/. In the Summer of 2012, she played the lead in the Pan Asian Repertory’s production of Rangoon mounted at the Clurman Theater in New York City to rave reviews. She is currently a board member of the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective.
She received her Phd. in Performance Studies at New York University. Her early education was from St. Scholastica’s College and De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines. Of South Asian origin, she was born and bred in Manila, Philippines, now living in New York.