Dr. Sarmistha Talukdar

Dr. Sarmistha Talukdar is a queer multiply disabled southasian immigrant, visual and sound artist, a botanist, a cancer research instructor, an activist and a community organizer based in Shocquohocan (also known as Richmond VA). Their work bridges the worlds of art, science and social justice. Their research interest is in understanding and targeting cancer stem cells, stem cell differentiation, and tissue engineering along with developing transdisciplinary pedagogy for social change. Their research and artistic work has been presented, cited and awarded for its importance and impact. Sarmistha’s community engagement and activism started at the age of 8 when they were a student at St. Joseph and Mary’s school in India. There they volunteered with a youth led organization called INTERACT and raised funds for several causes with intentions to support the marginalized communities in Kolkata. This foray into activism continued in different aspects of their life such as just science and art. They have volunteered with organizations such as ICE out of RVA, Richmond Immigrant Transit Assistance, Girls Rock RVA, Virginia Anti-Violence Project, Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project, Nationz Foundation and Free Rads to name a few. As an artist Sarmistha produces sound art under the name Tavishi, which has received recommendations from The Wire, Vice, Bandcamp, Kajal Mag, ATTN mag, Style RVA and Gay RVA to name a few. Their sound art merges Indian classical music, Bengali folk music, data sonification, ambient and harsh noise, to create anti-colonial compositions. In live performances, ze merges live granular sound synthesis with evocative audio-reactive visuals from a perspective that highlights the resilience and struggles of marginalized communities in the world. They are also an avid photographer and an emerging experimental film maker, whose short film HOME has been screened in several film festivals in US and Europe.