From April 10-15, SAI hosted Milan Rai, a visual artist from Nepal, at Harvard, as SAI’s fourth Visiting Artist of the year. Rai’s White Butterfly project is a demonstration of how the role of art can take different turns when shared across social media, connecting people and communities to effect social change and awareness. Those connections became an unexpected source of support and real change in rapid response to the earthquake disasters in Nepal this year, initiating funding projects for immediate relief to provide sanitation facilities, toilets rebuilding a school and relocating an entire village.
During his time at Harvard, Rai gave a public talk about the project and spread his white butterflies around campus. Rai also visited the courses ‘Introduction to Social Movements’ taught by Jocelyn Viterna, FAS, ‘Himalayan Art,’ taught by Jinah Kim, FAS, ‘Landmarks of World Architecture’ taught by Joseph Connors, FAS, ‘Social Change in the Digital Age,’ taught by Jesse Littlewood, HKS, ‘Muslim Devotional Literatures in South Asia’ taught by Ali Asani, FAS, and ‘Art, Design, and Learning in Public Spaces,’ taught by Steven Seidel, FAS. He also visited Harvard’s museums, and several in the Greater Boston area.
SAI’s Visiting Artist Program brings emerging artists from South Asia to Harvard’s campus, to engage with Harvard students, faculty, and community members.