Bhakti: Opening Celebration


Friday, September 23, 2022, 6:00pm to 8:00pm


Harvard Ed Portal, 224 Western Ave., Allston

Join us for the opening of this powerful exhibit! Mingle with guests, nibble on Indian food, decompress, and nourish your creative spirit. Brighton artist Deborah Johnson will lead art activities, flower garland-making, journal prompts, and co-lead a chanting meditation with harmonium accompaniment from yoga teacher Ria Mazumdar.

In this exhibit, Brighton artist Deborah Johnson curates an interactive installation featuring mixed-media, portrait paintings, and visual affirmations in a lush living room. As a queer South-Asian artist and mental health professional, Johnson connects her personal ancestry and spirituality to create a place of comfort and sanctuary for all. Visitors can drop by to reflect in a journal, view the art, gather with friends, or engage with the community altar.

Optional: Please bring something to leave on the community altar, such as pieces of nature, photos, or art.

*Open to all regardless of spiritual affiliation. The installation is based in cultural practices rooted in South Asia and yogic philosophy. The installation also integrates somatic and expressive arts therapy concepts.

Meet Deborah Johnson
Deborah Johnson (she/they) is queer Indian-American multidisciplinary artist and creative care worker based in Boston, Massachusetts. Johnson studied political science at Oberlin College and is currently getting her Masters in Social Work. Her work ranges from digital illustration and writing to movement practices such as yoga and dance.

Her artistic journey has always centered a deep connection to herself and her community. She utilizes bright and joyful colors and written affirmations, in her digital illustrations to address issues of mental health, the importance of intimate friendship and spirituality. As an artist and mental health professional, she emphasizes the importance of being multi-disciplinary and sees the way different art forms provide us the freedom to express and tap into different parts of ourselves.

Photo taken by Mel Taing



Meet Ria Mazumdar
Ria Mazumdar is a Bengali-American from Albuquerque, New Mexico now living in Boston. She graduated from Tufts University in 2019, where she studied economics and international politics. Mazumdar is passionate about mutual aid organizing, journalism, and yoga, and currently works as a Research Associate at Harvard Business School.