Anuj Vaidya is artist, educator and media curator who spends life between India, the US, and other realms not traced on human maps. He received his BHA in English/Theater Arts from Carnegie Mellon University, and MFA in Film/Video/New Media from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work as an artist straddles the cusp between performance and film, and addresses issues of gender, sexuality and ecology. Humor and the absurd come together in the form of camp in his work.
Since 2008, Anuj has been co-director for the 3rd i South Asian Film Festival in San Francisco. Apart from programming the annual film festival, he has also collaborated on the biannual mini-festivals 3rd i’s Green Eye and 3rd i’s Queer Eye, and the touring film series Cruel Cinema: New Direction in Tamil Film and Other Species, Other Times: New Video Art from India.
His own artistic practice has grown from addressing questions around the constructed nature of gender/sexuality (through films like Chingari Chumma and Bad Girl with a Heart of Gold) to the constructed nature of nature/culture. In his most recent work, Miss Piggy, Live with Diane Sawyer, Miss Piggy (played by the artist himself) gives an interview about her latest celebrity cause – ecology.
Anuj’s upcoming project, Forest Tales is a queer eco-feminist film adaptation of the Indian epic, The Ramayana. Deeply invested in a sustainable, artisanal process, the work will make various stops along the way to examine craft and pedagogy through technology and collaboration. A key goal of the production is to devise an energy solution that does not involve fuel or electricity.
Anuj has previously worked as an archivist/librarian at the Pacific Film Archive, University of California, Berkeley, and currently teaches queer studies at Montclair State University, New Jersey. His works have been screened and performed at various international venues including Pacific Film Archive (Berkeley, US), Sarai (New Delhi, India), the Fukoka Art Museum (Fukuoka, Japan), and more.