Subashini Ganesan is a dancer and choreographer, the founder and Executive Director of New Expressive Works, and Portland, Oregon’s Creative Laureate since 2018. Suba is a humble, even bashful leader. She made it clear many times that she doesn’t see herself as a hero, but I’ll say that she’s a hero of mine because of her swift and compassionate action during this crisis, and several years of deft and authentic leadership she’s provided to the Portland arts community. We talked about her role as Creative Laureate, the process of distributing this aid money from the Oregon State Legislature, and about the social justice movement taking place in Portland right now.

Photo by Intisar Abioto.

About Subashini Ganesan

Subashini Ganesan in conversation with Douglas Detrick at Peninsula Park in Portland, OR. Photo by Douglas Detrick.

Subashini Ganesan is an artist, arts administrator, and the Creative Laureate of Portland. As an artist, Ganesan founded Natya Leela Academy where she choreographs and performs potent and universally relevant expressions in Bharathatyam.  Since 2008 has received multiple Regional Arts & Culture Council Grants. She often collaborates with local choreographers like Mike Barber (Founder, Ten Tiny Dances) and Michelle Fujii (UNIT SOUZOU). Her works are often showcased at local & regional festivals including PICA’s annual Time-Based Art Festival, Conduit’s Dance+, Ten Tiny Dances Beaverton, NW Folk Life Festival, & the Salem Library’s “World of Music.” She is the founder and Executive Director of New Expressive Works.

Episode Transcript


Douglas Detrick: Welcome to More Devotedly, a podcast for people who see the arts as a force for positive, progressive change. I’m Douglas Detrick. This is Volume IV, episode 3.

Subashini Ganesan, or Suba for short, is a dancer and choreographer, as well as the founder and Executive Director of New Expressive Works, a nonprofit organization and arts venue that seeks to make ALL cultural genres equally visible, highlight the excellence of different artistic processes, and maintain fully accessible practice and performance spaces.

She is also Portland, Oregon’s Creative Laureate since 2018. This role, like many other things here, is unique to Portland, as far as I’ve been able to tell. In it she works in collaboration with city government and arts commissions to more effectively interface with Portland’s diverse creative class, among other things.. An early initiative she worked on was to conduct a survey of how Portland artists were using physical space in the city with a particular focus on affordability. Later in her tenure, when pandemic-related closures took hold in Portland, Suba worked with arts leaders and philanthropists to raise over $170,000 for direct cash aid to artists. 

Suba is a humble, even bashful leader. She made it clear many times that she doesn’t see herself as a hero, but I’ll say that she’s a hero of mine. Her leadership during this incredibly difficult time has been inspirational. At times that I’ve been feeling paralyzed by the difficulty of the situation we’re in, Suba has assembled coalitions that have taken concrete action to make it better. A big thank you to Suba and all the other arts leaders who have been working hard to get this community through this crisis suffering as little damage as possible.

I wanted to talk to her now because of the role she took in helping state, county, and city arts commissions make the distribution of $50 million of federal COVID aid money more equitable. As an organizer whose organization’s future depends so much right now on accessing aid money, I can say that the extra work she and others from the Oregon Arts Commission and the Multnomah County Cultural Coalition to clarify the process for accessing this aid money was super helpful for me. I’m sure it was to many others as well. 

She and I met at Peninsula Park in Portland to have this conversation, and you’ll hear sounds of folks riding by on bicycles, a chorus of crows, and even a well-timed car alarm. We talked about her role as Creative Laureate, the process of distributing this aid money from the Oregon State Legislature, and about the social justice movement taking place in Portland right now. 

Here’s the episode.


Douglas Detrick: Welcome, Suba, to More Devotedly.

Subashini Ganesan: Thank you. Thanks for having me. I’m excited.

Douglas Detrick: Cool. Well, could you start by kind of introducing yourself? 

Subashini Ganesan: Great. thanks for having me Douglas. So I wear many hats as you know, my primary foundational hat I guess is that I’m a dancer, a choreographer and an artistic director. My foundation is in an art form dance form called Bharatanatyam, which is a South Indian classical dance form. It’s from the state of Tamil Nadu, and it’s considered to be 2,500 years old.

And of course it has evolved. Right. I always say that what I’m dancing right now is not a cultural representation of an ancient past it’s, it’s a evolution of, of the floor as any form evolves. So that’s really my foundational identity. If you will. 

I also run new expressive works. I founded it in 2012 and the mission of new expressive works really is to support, celebrate, and provide as much visibility as possible for independent performing artists in our city. it has grown to region and country and sometimes international art is, but really it’s about how can we provide affordable space for performing artists to make work, to incubate, to, show work in whatever form, whether it’s a formal performance or just a showing and teach classes and workshops. Whatever is needed for an individual artists in this moment in their trajectory.

And, in 2018, I was honored to be designated as Portland’s second Creative Laureate.

Douglas Detrick: You were the second. I thought you were the first. Oh okay .

Subashini Ganesan: we’ll talk 

Douglas Detrick: we’ll talk about that Yeah 

Subashini Ganesan: And my role in our community both as an artist and an arts advocate, I’m super grateful that it’s continued to grow. I been sitting on the board of the Miller foundation for a couple of years and actually it’s nice to be in peninsula park because I also just recently became a board member with the parks foundation. So it’s lovely to connect and collaborate on all these different levels. 

Douglas Detrick: Yeah Well let’s talk about the creative Laureate position. So I thought you were the first but you’re the second,   how have you conceived of that role and what even is that.

Subashini Ganesan: Absolutely So as I understand it mayor Sam Adams designated this position. you know we all know  Sam Adams in so many different ways but when he was the mayor of our city and I was Beginning to become more and more active in Portland toward the tail end of his mayor mayorship mayor hood, and I’m quite an important advocate for arts and culture right in our city. And he conceived of and designated this position. Of course as Portland loves to be it is it was the first Ever designation of creative Laureate of any city in the country perhaps the world. and cause we are used to poet laureates right Not creative Lloyds. 

and so Julie Keefe are you familiar with Julie Keefe she is an important artist photographer but really it’s not in that box of what we might think of as photography. There’s a lot of storytelling huge huge investment in young people’s ability to speak about themselves through Photography. And then how do you take that into text And what does storytelling mean What does what is identity, emotions… so Julie Keefe and has been in Portland for a very long time and has contributed not just in the arts world but in terms of community, community building. I know that Julie’s had a lot of relationships with the Skanner news when it was much more elevated years 

Douglas Detrick: Yeah I think I’ve read about that in particular Yeah 

Subashini Ganesan: Yeah And and so Julie was our first creative Laureate and Julie held on to the position and and then after Sam Adams we had mayor Charlie Hills and Julie kept the position. And I know that Julie was in it for about maybe five years cause it was 2012, 2017, And at that point we have mayor Ted Wheeler in and commissioner Nick fish is the arts Portfolio holder and I’m Julian Nick decided that it was time to look for a new creative Laureate. And you know application process and interviews. 

And here we are. I mean I’m really grateful It’s it’s really both a huge honor to be recognized in this way because I know that our city has so many important Community leaders in the arts and culture world. So to have this position is huge and also to be able to do advocacy work visibility work, relationship building collaborative things you know stirring the pot all of it, all of it. 

And in terms of job description I will say that I’m again very lucky to have had and continue to have support to build the project as we go.  one of the hopes is when the next Creative Laureate  goes out for application process again–because it would be nice to keep having new voices right,  More ways to represent our advocacy– there is a desire to build somewhat of a mandate so that people know what they’re entering into. And then keep the mandate as a core and  build newness, with the new creative Laureate so that they can also bring their artistry their advocacy their point of view and their excitement to the position so that it keeps becoming a thing where we’re highlighting not just art forms but also the ways that artists conceive of what civic engagement means.

Douglas Detrick: Well it’s a bit like you know you might think of like an an opera role or a theater role or a dance role where you know the first person to have it kind of defines it in a certain way. And then it becomes the job of the next person that does it too bring their own voice to it. And and maybe and there’s that dance between kind of honoring the tradition that’s there and also putting your own stamp on it. I mean I think both things are really important so I think that’s been interesting. What would you say that you have approached it a little bit differently. 

Subashini Ganesan: You mean in relationship to how Julie approached it or you know there there are lots of differences but one thing that we always have to remember is when we think about civic engagement we have to remember the players. So when Julie was designated the resources and the tools that Julie can could use were very different from what I what I have right now. You know the the ecosystem the arts ecosystem has changed so much. So Julie’s role I know Julie spent a lot of time doing community engagement work working with youth and that is that something that she continues to do, right. I don’t want to reduce the stress at that time but we we were in a space where arts and culture had Venues and opportunities and a much larger donor and funding base. 

So when I show up in 2018 I pretty much dove into what was important at that time which was venue closures, affordability, where art is going to be able to make work, And show work. So I think each of us were able to get involved in that now that we were in and the now has as you know that question of affordability and survivor mode that Not just artists but arts organizations have continued to have to maintain unfortunately has only grown. 

It’s not all bleak, right, I don’t like to say that the picture is bleak. Absolutely not. We’ve got amazing stuff going on and we have to recognize that a lot of shift where it requires us to feel more and more concerned. And then we’ve got COVID. And then we’re working through an very important social justice movement. so all of these markers have influenced how I approach the work. 

Part 2

Douglas Detrick: So folks heard my interview with Jeff Hawthorne.  We talked about this appropriation from the Oregon state legislature of about $50 million that is coming from the federal government through the cares act one of the COVID relief bills and that was passed through Congress. so basically what’s happened is that and we talked about this before so I’ll just do a brief recap here but okay I’m the state legislator kind of earmarked about $50 million of that Whatever the total amount is to go to performing arts venues and organizations that are struggling to stay up float and pay bills and meet obligations that they have. 

so Jeff and I talked a lot about the broad structure of this and just how it was working how it came to be you know especially from that  advocacy perspective which he knows so much about. So I wanted to talk to you a bit about the equity piece of it now that the money’s there and now that it’s being distributed,  you did quite a lot of work trying to just spread the word about what These things were and help people navigate what was a fairly complex application. 

Subashini Ganesan: So this is interesting because I’ve had conversations especially about the cares act with so many different community members. You know the one thing that I keep coming back to is because our democracy is what it is and the systems that have been created Are what they are and as we continue to work with those systems we find out what these systems really are. So the best way I would say to understand why these cares act monies came so fast and we’re decided what feels like at the last moment. And it perhaps the most inconvenient time for most artists Leaders and artists because August is that time where we say Oh my goodness can we finally take four days off before September hits Right. so there’s there’s been a lot of discussion about timing and you know the equity of the timing and what if people don’t even get the information until the application due date is gone. but I would say you know this is where squares and what is that the thing about trying to get us 

Douglas Detrick: a square peg peg in a round 

Subashini Ganesan: yes there we go you know having grown up in Singapore, I know these sayings but I always get them all mixed up. It’s kind of funny. And it’s kind of a running joke with some of my friends. So here’s a CARES Act that’s really geared towards small businesses And what the government knows of small businesses number one and number two it’s really in the mode of disaster relief fund, right. So it’s like what they would do for hurricane disasters. And So disaster stuff is often messy, right? It’s super super short term. And the regulations, for most non-bureaucratic human beings makes no sense.

Douglas Detrick: Yeah totally 

Subashini Ganesan: So this framing is not to say anything about lack of equity, right, that’s not what I’m saying. But I’m just kind of approaching it in that manner of if we just looked at the system, it’s it’s so Frazzled to start with.

Douglas Detrick: Yeah and it’s it’s like it begins from a place that’s already challenging  unless you have experience with it you know and have been through it. 

Subashini Ganesan: Well and even if you do, right, every disaster relief every every moment calls for something different. And and in that in that spirit of responding to the current moment it could add more complications then not, right? So and then now we come to this particular bill. So $50 million 24 of those million dollars we’re just itemized as numbers right by  legislators to seven of the largest arts organizations in our state. And the important thing to think about here is these venues And when we say venues it’s a very confusing thing you know from an arts and culture perspective what is a venue? Well it’s it’s a place where Performances happen is how I understand it was defined for that list, right? So it’s performance venues. So it’s not venues that teach classes. It’s not venues where you have community gatherings. It’s not in terms of that flexibility It’s where performances happen. And the reasoning behind it of course is  those were the first ones to close because of crowds. 

Douglas Detrick: Right.

Subashini Ganesan: And those will probably be the ones that might open last you know with your sports events. And then the rest of the money the 26 million is the competitive dollars. 

Douglas Detrick: Hmm Yeah 

Subashini Ganesan: So therein was this confusion of why did some folks make the list where you’re just getting checks. How did they come up with the numbers for certain organizations.  I just want to say all of this is in the spirit of Goodwill and goodness and innovation and this attempt at creating sustainability, right? Because no other state in the country has passed such a bill. So we got to take a moment and celebrate and say yay, Right? We gotta we gotta get excited about that. And there were some very keen lobbyists and keen advocates who really pushed the agenda forward. So that is important. 

And at the same time we’ve got this question of well why did some venues And some venues as they’re defined and then some arts organizations performance spaces get money in that first load and why didn’t others. And then why does everybody else have to go through a competitive process when these folks mysteriously got money. 

Douglas Detrick: Right? 

Subashini Ganesan: So you’re starting to see that Those are the questions of inclusivity accessibility. Where’s the equity in it, but where is even the information accessibility? 

so that all happens in July, right? And then early August we’ve got Oregon arts commission, Oregon culture trust, and business Oregon under which Oregon arts, OCT and OAC function. so that’s our state structure. And Oregon culture trusts OCT is responsible for helping this competitive process for the rest of that $26 million And that was the application that I partnered with you know OCT and the Multnomah County cultural coalition and the regional arts and culture council to really get the word out. And some of our private foundations. And really you know from where I am I’m not paid to do any of this work. So what I can do is reach out to partners and say here’s an opportunity for us to make this as accessible as possible given these restrictions right Restrictions of time restrictions of language,  don’t just mean language I E it’s an English.  the language of it for some people they’re like this is not English. 

Douglas Detrick: Right I understand 

Subashini Ganesan: and so All of these points where we need to capture or even organizations who feel Oh well I’m too small. No one’s going to pay attention to me. And yet these are small organizations that impact not just that particular arts and culture community they serve but they are part of the larger ecosystem of our community. 

so that was really  the push in the last what was it I can’t even It feels like a lifetime ago only at the beginning of August, right? yeah where there was there was the understanding that the applications were going to come out and you know again I just have to say I can’t do any of this work if people didn’t say yes let’s partner. Yes We’ll work through the weekends. Yes We have to. This is important. Especially in these times where I keep hearing about individuals saying that they are making a change while others aren’t. I speak about larger leadership in our spheres these days I feel like it’s always important to say yes one individual can sort of call out the need but it takes so much work with so many people and so many organizations that we have to keep celebrating that collaborative partnership And not just focus on the leader who apparently made everything happen if you get my drift.

Douglas Detrick: I do, Yes.

it’s a great problem to have that we have this problem of what do we do with this money and 

Subashini Ganesan: Thank you for saying that because the we is a question. Who are the we and who’s at the table. And the thing is what we I believe as as I don’t know who the we is at this point but let’s say we’re I think as a whole our communities of leaders are very good at saying we’d like to bring in focus groups of the folks we know who are underrepresented. Please speak to us We will listen to you We will record what you say. We’ll write this up and we’ll build a statement.

But what do you do with those listening sessions, Right? And and great So I feel good that I’ve heard what you’ve had to say.  Oh what I have deemed underrepresented artists or arts organization.

Right That’s that that’s the silence that that’s important to think about. And so in this case that’s the struggle, right? How do we even get people to the table to apply? Because the folks who are making decisions might actually not know the impact or that these communities are both underrepresented and are important. I find that word really hard underrepresented but I use it because it somehow makes the synapses connect. I wish we would have a better term because it just it’s just…

Douglas Detrick: well term terms are hard 

Subashini Ganesan: is this too hierarchical You know 

Douglas Detrick: And it’s but they also changed so much over time and and like You know Yeah So it’s 

Subashini Ganesan: That could be a whole 

Douglas Detrick: built in Yeah I know Right 

Subashini Ganesan: so so the folks at the table who are making decisions you’ve got folks at the table who are invited by the decision makers to say their piece And then the the power difference between those who are being heard and those who are hearing them because the ones who are hearing them are making the decisions because they’re the ones who are speaking in these focus groups are not invited to make decisions together, Right? So cause you can’t change our legislative Constitution like that just can’t be done. so those are just questions, right? These are these are things that we need to think about for how we move forward. what happens next Because great We’ve got some relief funds but that’s like phase zero, right? What’s what’s phase two three four no one two three four. Like what are we going to do for the next three years, Or as some people are saying five or seven years, As we find the steps to come back up in a way but also come back into another vibrant rich world.

Douglas Detrick: That’s hopefully better than 

Subashini Ganesan: Right 

Douglas Detrick: what we had Yeah 

Part 3

Portland is in the news right now, Right? you know I wanted to start The conversation by saying like if you were talking to somebody who’s not in the city with us and they’re hearing these things and they maybe they’re hearing what the president says And then and then they’re hearing what other people say to say that the president is completely wrong or or that he’s like taking a tiny bit of truth and blowing it way out of proportion. But I you know I just want to ask you your just your view of being here and  with your perspective that’s pretty unique about you know in your role as creative Laureate and as a dancer as an artist what are you seeing here and how would you describe Portland in this moment to somebody who’s not here 

Subashini Ganesan: I I think about a long sense of history right What Portland is working through right now which is very important protests to call out what needs to change.  the things that happen because protests happen. And how everybody paints occurrences in the way that best suits them. Especially when it becomes political.  it’s not the first time that I’ve had to Witness or be part of something like this. I I’ve been having many many memories back to I think 2000 or 2001. it was the year after the WTO IMF conferences, which happened first in Seattle and the protest there, And then the next year it was in DC And I was working in DC in In an organization And we had sent folks to the Seattle protests and then I was part of the DC protests. And it’s the same thing Right You know there’s one maybe not one square mile It was a little bit bigger maybe like five square miles that is involved in in action And in in all the things that people call Rioting and protests and all the loaded things that come with that imagery. And then the rest of DC is just sort of living their lives as they are.

Douglas Detrick: Yeah Very much like we are in 

Subashini Ganesan: Exactly. Exactly. I mean, I go back to that personal experience and then I look at other historical things across our timeline both in America and across the world that you know this is how people Choose to do business in that political realm, or in sensationalistic press world. And and really we’ve had a few friends call and and we say well we are on the other side of the river. This is where this is going on. 

Douglas Detrick: Right 

Subashini Ganesan: But it’s not to say everything is fine in Portland except I mean that’s the part that’s very important for me is it’s not to magnify I the lack of unrest. For me it’s to say yes it’s happening geographically in the spot and reminding people why it’s happening. Because that’s the problem that I’m seeing is the kind of constant attempt to Forget why people continue to show up what Eight weeks Nine weeks Yeah After George Floyd’s killing, Right? And that we have  Another one in Kenosha Wisconsin last week you know so I was watching I forget who or what I was watching but somebody said look After Kenosha this person was speaking four days later  and people say okay well what do you want us to do? And his response was because this was on news And he says no we already told you what we wanted you to do. we’ve been telling you over years right Hundreds of years, And we told you very clearly When George Floyd happened. So don’t keep coming back to us asking for what you need because you know what we need. And and I think that is what I speak about when I think of you know yes There are lots of people living their lives in the way that quarantine has made them live, and we have I have to amplify the importance of the work that’s being done. Because I keep getting stressed out about how it devolves into this discussion of property damage and disruption and forgetting what the cause is. 

And you know because I live in Portland I know that graffiti is something that Is new maybe street art is new I mean it shouldn’t be but having lived on the East coast and seeing beautiful street art for all the time I’ve lived in America, even those things of well when is that going to change, No! we need to accept the philosophy and also the philosophy of what’s happening And the humanity that we need to come to terms with our humanity I mean me as an individual the humanity of the folks who are saying Hey you’re not why are you not seeing us as humans. 

You know that’s really important And and this is you know I’m just going to close with this because this is something I’ve really been thinking about for the last few weeks. We can see love and we can see beauty and we can see some of those manifestations outside of humans right Nature animals We can see relationships we can see community behavior. 

I’m not convinced that we can see hatred outside of humans. We made this up we made hate out of fear out of anger I don’t know out of what. So I’m not I am not convinced that it is reflected in anything outside of humans. So there’s so many things that we’ve made up that we’ve said huh It doesn’t work Let’s get rid of it. So, hatred. 

Douglas Detrick: Why is hatred not obsolete at this point in our in our history it kind of is what you’re is what you’re saying but. 

Subashini Ganesan: Well I’m saying why can’t we get rid of it. It’s not reflected anywhere else I’m not convinced. I mean maybe some of your listeners will say Oh no there is hatred amongst those Marine you know algae down in I don’t know. so if it’s manmade which I believe it is And it perhaps is made out of fear out of out of the need to keep power the need to keep our our boundaries to keep the system going we got to do it And I’m saying all of that because all of that to me is relevant when it comes to the discussion about Portland and the way things are being represented or misrepresented. Yeah 

Douglas Detrick: Yeah Well I yeah I mean I think that there’s definitely an idea of you know,  people need to do what they need to do for themselves now to feed their families too Get along as human beings you know.  living things compete for the same resources at times and where we but then we take that competition and we say no those other that other group of people whoever we choose to make into that other group you know that we we take that to the next level. We take that that tendency for competition perhaps and turn that into something that we call hatred and it becomes like this political driver And 

Subashini Ganesan: It’s one version but I will push back a little bit you know the slaves weren’t competing for anything 

Douglas Detrick: that’s true 

Subashini Ganesan: you know native American folks in in the indigenous folks in this country we’re not competing for anything. It’s really it’s sometimes It’s not sometimes most of the times I think when it comes to this level of conditioned hatred  it’s just this construct. It’s a construct that I am better and you’re not. And because I’m better I’m more powerful and I’ve drawn these lines, I’ve drawn these boundaries, I’ve drawn these lines on the sand And and I will do everything I can to prevent you from crossing it. Or if you cross it there will be really dire consequences. And and I mean I’m I’m speaking of kind of hatred not I mean yes you go to the Galapagos islands Yes You see that survival of the fittest you see the finches and some make it some don’t. That’s you know that’s super Darwinian and that’s that’s animal, Right? I don’t I’m not convinced it’s hatred. 

Douglas Detrick: Exactly Well I think that’s because say what I’m saying is that that’s not hatred. Right We’ve we’ve yeah What we’ve done is we’ve said cause I I would maybe say that like when I use the word competition I’m saying like I think that the slaves did fight When they could there were some times but most of the time in 99% of cases they were they did not have the opportunity to and so there there are those examples but but but I think that the point is that I’m struggling to make here is hatred has to do with power.

Subashini Ganesan: Well Yeah And hatred has to do with fear but my but let me just keep saying that the fighting back is historical events. My question is Why do certain people have to keep fighting back.

Douglas Detrick: I see Yeah Right That’s important And yeah 

Subashini Ganesan: No no And I think that that’s what I want to really kind of keep impressing upon us is why does certain communities always have to fight for their rights.

And let’s pay attention to the conditions that make it So. Because there’s a whole community of folks who keep pushing their power And I you know that’s where my curiosity is. And and I and that’s not it’s not all hatred but it’s this desire for comfort is this desire for structure but all of it comes from a place of human human making. So can we can we not deconstruct it? Can we not disrupt it? Because we actually have the power each one of us does. So why not.

Douglas Detrick: Right 

Subashini Ganesan: You know and I get I guess I get a little heady about these things. 

Douglas Detrick: It is Yeah I mean it’s 

Subashini Ganesan: And it’s important I think it’s it goes along hand in hand with action and and the raising of voices. 

Douglas Detrick: it’s A fairly anthropological way to see it But I think that but you’re just trying to approach it I think I’m taking that perspective as a beginning point but to say like but look here here is hate and here is hate and here is hate and it looks like I don’t know housing discrimination it looks like police brutality these 

Subashini Ganesan: lining It looks like voter suppression It looks like less trees in neighborhoods that are made up of people of color and that means they live in hotter and less hygienic I mean less climate friendly places I mean it looks like a lot of things that are pretty insidious. And yeah and we can change it and why not? And I think that’s what I keep coming back to as that’s what’s going on right now in Portland. And don’t just focus on all the things that are comfortable to focus on. 

Douglas Detrick: Yeah The things that 

Subashini Ganesan: that you want to like or you want to hate And don’t just focus on all the you know the placards, right? Focus on the meaning and focus on why this has to happen now. 

Douglas Detrick: Yeah 

Subashini Ganesan: And I’m not saying this out to everybody right I’m asking myself these questions. Like it’s important that I keep saying that you know I’m not I’m not just telling everybody to do this I do this every day. I mean we talk about anti racist work, I feel Strongly that it has to be a daily practice. People have so many different kinds of daily  practices and we need to hold this as a daily practice. Because there is no enlightenment. You know there is no Nirvana. We’re not going to walk away from the Samsara of if you will you can’t call anti-racism Samsara. And for those who don’t know, samsara is a Buddhist term of suffering and this idea of having to move out of suffering anti racist work is work that we got to keep doing. Like we don’t become like it’s not like you’ve taken a course and you’ve become anti-racist, right? It’s a 


It’s the daily work 

Douglas Detrick: right You are what you repeatedly do. 

Subashini Ganesan: Yeah It’s not liberation It’s not moksha, You know it’s not all those fancy lovely things that we want. 


It’s it’s gotta be something we keep doing because every every moment is going to call for something else for us to do. 

Douglas Detrick: Absolutely Well let’s let’s end it there I think we’re you’re laughing and smiling right now so that’s probably a good place to stop. But Suba thank you so much for talking with me about these issues. when people ask why do I do this podcast It’s like  I just enjoy having these conversations and putting a microphone in somebody’s face as a way of focusing that energy  in a way that that I learn a lot.  it becomes really interesting is because you you see people thinking in real time as they’re talking and trying to make sense of what they’re thinking And that’s just hard. I mean it’s it’s a hard thing to do.  so I appreciate you going through that with me and Thanks for being on the podcast. 

Subashini Ganesan: Thank you so much This has been great. I really appreciate it. Thanks for thanks for having a conversation. That’s important.

Douglas Detrick: Yeah. Happy to do it. 

Subashini Ganesan: Thank you.


Thanks so much to you, Suba. Learn more about Subashini Ganesan at moredevotedly.com or at the website of New Expressive Works, studiotwozoomtopia.com

If you enjoy the conversations you’re hearing on this podcast, please tell a friend about the show. You can also rate and review the show on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen. Please join our join or mailing list at moredevotedly.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

I’m Douglas Detrick, and I produced this episode, and composed and performed the music here in Portland, Oregon.

What you’re doing is beautiful. Can you do it more devotedly?

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