Maya Manaktala (she/her)
I come from a background of experimental documentation in photography, intergroup dialogue, and critical social work practice and theory. I think in terms of the sociology of emotions. The result of my experience leads me to incorporate the aforementioned fields together.
I am an artist and I have been an art teacher. Throughout my experience producing, developing, and encouraging others to create art, I have learned that art as a conduit is so valuable. Raw and straight-forward communication of feelings and the sometimes more obscure product gives space to emotionally process social concepts and political structures that can seem larger than life. No matter what form of expression the art takes, it is integral to Activist spaces.
Community organizing with the Labor-Religion Coalition and the NYS Poor People’s Campaign has led me to further expand my vision of how arts and culture fit into the larger mosaic of the movement. My work with students across the state this semester has helped me see the impact of small scale groups of individuals processing in the form of art.
[Image Description: The New York State Poor People’s Campaign, as a part of a national multi-state coordinated action, had an in-person action fighting for housing and healthcare justice on March 15, 2021. This photo depicts one of our cultural leaders, Pauline Pisano, leading the group in a song to kick off the event.]