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Desh Pardesh was a multidisciplinary arts festival dedicated to providing a venue for underrepresented and marginalized voices within the South Asian diasporic community, particularly left wing and queer South Asian artists and academics. It operated from 1988 to 2001. The organization's mandate states: "Desh Pardesh is lesbian and gay positive, feminist, anti-racist, anti-imperialist and anti caste/classist. Desh exists to ensure that the voices and expressions of those constituencies in the South Asian community which are systematically silenced are provided with a community forum. In particular: independent artists, cultural producers and activists who are women, lesbians and gays, people with disabilities, working class people and seniors." Founded in the late 1989, the festival was originally conceived as "Salaam Toronto!" and administered by Khush, an association of South Asian gay men in Toronto. This day-long festival was held at 519 Community Centre in May, 1988. The Khush committee later developed into a coalition-based organizing committee to administer the newly named Desh Pardesh, which was held in March 1990, and was co-sponsored by Khush and The Euclid Theatre. Desh Pardesh was incorporated as a non-profit organization on April 7, 1994. In addition to organizing an annual summer conference and arts festival (featuring film screenings, workshops, issue-driven seminars, spoken work and literary readings, music, dance and performance art pieces), Desh Pardesh also hosted periodic arts development workshops, community outreach seminars, mini-festivals, art exhibits, and film retrospectives. It also served as a resource centre and referral service to various South Asian community groups and artists, cultural organizations and activists. In later years, Desh Pardesh worked in close collaboration with SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Collective). The Desh Pardesh festival and its administrative body closed in 2001 due to a financial crisis.
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2016/09/12 Anna St.Onge. Creation.
2021/07/30 KCP. Added Wikidata identifier.