Photo by Mahwash Rahman
Sehba Sarwar is a writer, multidisciplinary artist, and activist, currently based in Houston, USA. She moves between the city of her birth, Karachi, Pakistan, where she spent the first half of her life in a home filled with artists, activists and educators, and her adopted city, Houston, where she has recreated a community similar to the one where she was raised. Through her writings and installations, Sarwar explores displacement and women’s issues, moving between South Asia and the US.
Sarwar's first novel, Black Wings was published in 2004 (Alhamra Publishing, Pakistan), and her short stories have appeared in anthologies including And The World Changed (Feminist Press, New York) and in Neither Night Nor Day (Harper Collins, India). Alongside her fiction, Sarwar has published a wide range of essays in publications including The News on Sunday, The New York Times’ Sunday Magazine and Callaloo, while her poetry has been published in anthologies in Pakistan, Canada and the US.
Serving as artistic/ founding director of Voices Breaking Boundaries (VBB), a non-profit arts-activist organization in Houston, USA, Sarwar creates a series of video collages that have been screened in Pakistan, India, Egypt and the US. In an attempt to document the multiple realities she inhabits - writer, artist, mother, activist, dual citizen - Sarwar maintains a blog, Daily Noise, where she posts images, videos and words.
Currently, Sarwar is working on a non-fiction manuscript entitled What Is Home? for the Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston, where she serves as Artist-in-Residence (2012-14); in 2014-15, through a Mid-America Arts Alliance grant, Sarwar will be expanding her What Is Home? project into a multidisciplinary arts production. In addition, she will continue to direct VBB's Borderlines living room art productions that explore histories, memories and stories and create connections between North America and South Asia.
A member of Macondo Writers' Workshop, Sarwar serves on the boards of Voices Breaking Boundaries and Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. Sarwar is an active voice at Houston's KPFT Pacifica Radio 90.1 FM, often teaching writing and multidisciplinary arts workshops at all levels in Pakistan and in the US.