I am a feminist and post-de-colonial writer, creative, consultant, and theorist making sense of violence’s infinite faces and forms.
I come to the study of violence as a brown woman and a south-asian immigrant born in Dubai, into a working-class family of immigrants from India. My family and I immigrated to Canada, me at a wee age of three, and other than a brief stint at a Don Mills apartment, I settled and grew up in Scarborough—one of the most multiracial and cultural Canadian cities—just east of Tkaronto, on the lands of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of the Credit River, which have been stolen through the genocide of indigenous peoples throughout Turtle Island.
Struggling with the transnational legacies and ancestral lineages that birthed me into some semblance of a lonely and isolating ‘now’, I was desperately yearning to make sense of the messiness, the violence that unrolls its arms to every corner of our being, spreading its fingers and slowly enveloping us into its bounds. Violence is our mother tongue, it’s how we speak and communicate domination. It is the medium, the arm of domination, its eyes and ears on our earthly, material plane. I see violence as antithetical to freedom. Indeed then, the fight for liberation from domination demands the fight against violence; my hope is that in unsettling the violences we have become settled to, we are able to settle in free, liberatory worlds.
My creative and consultancy work stems from my radical imagination and cultivation of new worlds without violence’s suffocating bounds, without its gripping, tight hold on our neck. This longing incites my current research where I work to uncover how black and brown female bodies are messily moulded and slowly assembled as violable, to be had, taken, hurt. I part company with the dominant violence against women apparatus and instead locate violence as a production, an ongoing, incomplete process; for visible in the belly of the overly theorized beast enacting the act of sexual violence, is indeed this slow making that evokes and implants racialized female bodies as unruly, ravageable whores. To make sense of such a violence, I am grappling and in fight with how cultural demons—imagery, media, film, language, essentially what we consider ‘knowledge and reality’—erect women of colour as rapeable things, essentially producing a rapeable body before the rape even takes place.
As someone who spends much of my time in deep sessions and states of creation, I am concerned with how I can put our feelings into words; reconcile our emotions with prose, poetry, art; probe and thread repair into our granular, everyday movements; grasp onto theory as a means to express what our bodies have known for centuries. I am a creative whose acts and emotions of creation remain multiple, from the mundane of growing my hair and raising my dog to the infinite of writing, prosing, and poeticizing. I look upon creation as the antithesis of destruction, and creation as the parallel excavation of violence. In the act of one, I choose to forego, or at least lessen, the other.
In the process of summarizing myself, I do a disservice to the multiple moving parts of my body, emotions, and creations for whom the english language, and the traditional grammatical structure is just not enough. So here are some more musings which may provide glimpses into this layerdness and allow you, and I as well, to peek into myselves.
>> I hope my writing conjures imagery that captivates, lingers for centuries to come.
>> My work is like an ocean, I send some waves out, they come back, crash, lock horns with one another, devilishly merge, they are sent back my way, they ripple, riptides form. My work is in constant struggle and emotion with its multiple moving parts.
>> I use my stories, our stories, as entry points to facilitate conversation with survivors as well as those exercising violence (all of us in varying extents) on its mutilation. The poet in me likes short, non-lengthy pieces—to be quick and readable so to come back to—not like academic articles whose abstract is enough. I write and speak quickly, viciously at times, I demand much from you, from us all.
>> Black and brown feminists urge a whole new way of imagining and organizing worlds without domination and violence. I similarly structure my everyday movement in a feminist and decolonial way, asking: how do I breathe liberation? Invite freedom in my touch? Absorb the floods of restoration? Mimic the sounds of justice? How do I practice living as a habitual process of dismantling domination and evoking freedom?
>> I speak in metaphors and allegories because that is how I live my life. They allow me to lean into the contradictions of our world, embracing obscurity and complexities as vessels for possibilities to become.
>> I am concerned with how we can build a culture of repair, healing, where grief and struggle, pain are embraced and grappled with so as to ignite liberation.
>> Much of my work is like a collage, taking what’s on my mind and splattering it out in its complexity and beautiful contradictions onto an external artifact.
>> I practice language and theory as a site of contestation, locus of struggle, arena for liberation and domination to mingle at once.
You are free to cut out sentences from this bio for the sake of any word counts you must adhere to, however, any changes to the actual content—meaning the cutting of certain words, or putting together of sentences—should be run by me first.
“Kanishka Sikri (kanishkasikri.com) is a feminist writer, consultant, and theorist unravelling the multiple faces and forms of raced-sexed-gendered violence. Committed to crafting new creative lineages from post-de-colonial thought and transnational intersectionality, she yearns to make sense of the messiness of violence as the mother tongue of our dominator culture so as to cultivate worlds without its mutilating bounds. Her hope is that in unsettling the contradictory violences and oppressive logics of power we have become settled to, we are able to settle in free, liberatory and pluriverse worlds. Kanishka is formally trained as an international development specialist from the Centre for Critical Development Studies at the University of Toronto, and is a South Asian immigrant settler from Dubai, in Tkaronto.”