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You Can Sit With Us

Curation by Dhaga for Swiss Cottage Gallery, Commissioned by Camden Council’s Culture Team for South Asian Heritage Month 2024

Exhibition Dates: July 19th – August 22nd

Where are all the Queer South Asian spaces?


In the late 80's and 90's, the Queer South Asian community in Britain came together to create their own spaces to be both Queer and South Asian amongst an increasingly racist and hostile society dominated by whiteness, and a heternormative South Asian community (1).


The Queer South Asian house parties were safe havens where South Asian's opened up their homes, to create community, forge friendships, share culture and dance (2). More than just a house party, these were life affirming spaces to navigate being Queer and South Asian (1). The iconic Club Kali, a community-club network which first began in Camden was and still is more than just a club night, it is a family who accepts you as you are (2).


What has changed since then? Although we have come along way in terms of community acceptance and integration, queer spaces are in danger - but were they ever inclusive in the first place?


Since the 2000's, LGBTQ+ venues in London have declined by 58%. Those most affected by closure have been the QTIPOC community (3). With spaces catering to QTIPOC being disproportionately vulnerable to closure (3). More specifically, there has been a major decline in LGBTQ+ venues across the London Borough of Camden (3).

So what can we do?


You Can Sit With Us and collectively create a space that feels like home for the LGBTQIA+ South Asian community in Camden.


In line with South Asian Heritage Month's theme this year 'Free to Be Me' we are curating a month-long exhibition at Swiss Cottage Gallery commissioned by Camden Council's Culture Team. We invite all South Asian LGBTQIA+ Artists & Designers to share their work in response to creating 'home' through a Queer and South Asian lens.


The way the Queer South Asian house parties of the 90's redefined the meaning of a home, the way Club Kali created a home on the dancefloor. These were safe spaces where Queer South Asian's came together to build a community. We might not feel like we have a home in mainstream queer spaces. Or our experience of 'home' may be complicated. We want to co-create a safer and affirming space to celebrate, love, mourn, grieve and make space to explore all of our Queer and South Asian identities. ‘You Can Sit With Us’ can be from the pov of the artist saying to the viewer ‘this is my home which is also a safe space for you’


Home can be many things and has the potential to be everything we wish it to be. 








  • FOOD

  • LOVE



  • What does home mean to you as a South Asian/British South Asian who identifies as LGBTQIA+?

  • How do we dismantle hetero/cis-normativity?

  • How do our homes connect us to our ancestors?

  • What intergenerational traumas do we carry through families?

  • How do we break cycles?

  • What is your experience of home?

  • What artwork did you never see in your home?

  • How can Camden be a home for LGBTQIA+ South Asian's?


Works can either:

  • Be directly exploring or responding to the theme

  • Or they can redefine the theme.

  • This is your space as a LGBTQIA+ South Asian. If your work doesn't explicitly respond to the theme, tell us what it explores and what it will bring to the space.


We encourage works of any medium.


This exhibition will prioritise LGBTQIA+ South Asian artists/designers who have a connection to the London Borough Camden (for example, those who live/work/study or those who have previously lived/worked/studied in the borough). This can also include works that are about Camden. If you are not a Camden based artist we still encourage you to apply if your work fits the brief.

Neighbourhoods that belong to the London Borough of Camden:

  • Belsize Park

  • Bloomsbury

  • Camden Central

  • Camden New Town

  • Clerkenwell

  • Covent Garden

  • Dartmouth Park

  • Euston

  • Fitzrovia

  • Gospel Oak

  • Hampstead

  • Highgate Hill

  • Holborn

  • Kentish Town

  • Kilburn Priory

  • Kings Cross

  • Parliament Hill & Heath

  • Primrose Hill

  • Regents Park

  • Somers Town

  • Swiss Cottage

  • West Hampstead


  1. gal-dem:

  2. Club Kali:

  3. UCL:

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