Tara Asgar

Born and raised in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Tara Asgar (documented name Ali Asgar) is a multidisciplinary transgender (She/Her) artist, educator, and activist focusing on themes of gender and desire. Her early career and activism challenged conservative gender norms in Bangladesh, particularly concerning sexuality and eroticism. Witnessing the tragic murders of LGBTQIA+ activists Xulhaz Mannan and Mahabub Rabbi Tonoy in 2016 heightened her advocacy, despite facing life-threatening risks from a Muslim-majority conservative social mindset.

Recognized for her boundary-pushing art and activism, Tara received the prestigious Artist Protection Fund in 2016, facilitating her relocation to the USA for a safer environment to continue her work. currently based in Brooklyn, NY, Tara utilizes public performances, text, videos, and community organizing to explore queerness, transness, displacement, trauma, migration, and decolonization.

Her art has been exhibited worldwide, reviewed by critic Hans Ulrich Obrist, and featured in publications like Hyperallergic, Freeze Art magazine, Blackflash, Dhaka Tribune, and The Daily Beast. Tara has showcased her work at prominent galleries and institutions, including the Queens Museum, Onsite Gallery, Shrine Empire Gallery, and Defibrillator Gallery. She has also held visiting artist positions at prestigious universities, including Parsons School of Design and UC Berkeley. In addition to her art, Tara actively engages with the grassroots trans community in Bangladesh through her platform, Bangladesh Trans, Hijra, and Koti Rights Coalition, prioritizing the economic and social well-being of hijra and trans communities. Tara holds a BFA in Printmaking from the University of Dhaka and an MFA in Performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She teaches art & critical race theory at the Parson School of Design in New School and Pace University, NY. Tara is the 2021 AFI-Two Tree Dumbo Studio Award Awardee and 2024 NYSCA moving image/ interdisciplinary awardee and currently working with Future Histories Studio at Stony Brook University on a multi-part seminar series about decolonization and global south identities.