Sarah K Khan (b. Mangla, Pakistan) utilizes food to provoke thought about injustice towards people and the planet. She explores food, culture, women, migration, and identity in urban and rural environments. As multi-media maker and scholar, she uses photography, films, video art, print-making, maps, and writing. Women cooks and farmers’ stories and lives exist in the background, as footnotes and props to the man’s story. Yet women tend to be the carriers of vital cultural and ecological knowledge, such as foodways, farming, and healing. To defy erasure and to build archives, simultaneously, Khan reveals the often invisible labor and mastery of the disregarded. To inscribe the denied into global and local multi-visual cultures, she researches and documents the lives of ordinary people who are extraordinary. Engaging slowly, she gets to know her subjects with empathy and respect. The subjects and subject matter, real or conjured, are complex individuals dealing with the challenges of life. The work captures a moment in time and space revealing the emotions and lived experiences, the humanity of those she encounters.
After a year as a Senior Research Fulbright-Nehru Scholar in India, she is in post-production on a film on Indian women farmers . The film intersects globalization, climate change, environmental degradation, gender disparity, race and caste discrimination and farmers’ suicides in addition to the loss of crop, biological, cultural, culinary and linguistic diversities.
She creates global media content on Migrant Kitchens. The goal is to relay the stories of migrants, through the lens of food with photography, film, interactive maps and story. She is assembling a series of multimedia and photographic exhibits on “In/Visible: Migrant Kitchens,” “In/Visible: Porters of Taste” that explores the lives of migrant workers in Old Delhi; and another on “In/Visible: Women Farmers.” At present Sarah continues Migrant Kitchens in the USA, and with a group of women cooks and farmers in Fez, Morocco.
She has articles/photography in two anthologies: “Supershero Amrita Partitioned Once, Migrated Twice,” In Women and Migrations: Responses in Art and History. Editors, Deb Willis, Cheryl Finley, Ellyn Toscano; and “To Sow and To Sew: Siddi Women Farmers (and Quilters) in Uttara Kannada, Karnataka, India.” In Afro-South Asia in the Global African Diaspora, with Kenneth X. Robbins, Beheroze Shroff, and Jazmin Graves, eds. (Ahmedabad: Mapin Publishing, 2021).
Sarah’s photography, films, and writing have appeared in AAWW Open City, Roads and Kingdoms, Culinary Backstreets, The Art of Eating, Modern Farmer and Yahoo India. Her photographic eBook entitled West Africans Hands Create Cultivate Cook is a tool to teach about biocultural, agricultural and culinary diversity. Her academic research has appeared in The American Botanical Council’s Herbal Gram, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Integrative Medicine by David Rakel MD, and in The American Journal of Health Education.
A two-time Fulbright recipient, Khan earned a BA in Middle Eastern history and Arabic (Smith College), two Masters (public health and nutrition, Columbia University) and a Ph.D. (traditional ecological knowledge systems, plant sciences, New York Botanical Garden-CUNY). She has received numerous grants and fellowships to pursue her work.