We are so excited that Princeton University Bhangra will be performing at the 2018 SAB Gala: Wonders of the Wilderness! For this performer spotlight, SAB President Julia Cury interviews her friend, Princeton Bhangra Junior Captain Vayne Ong.
Julia: Princeton Bhangra has performed at the Princeton University Art Museum before – Are you guys excited to return?
Vayne: Absolutely! Because we are usually so focused on competing off-campus, we love any opportunity to perform on campus – especially at the Princeton University Art Museum, where we are surrounded by so much art.
Julia: Have you had a chance to visit the museum’s newest exhibition, Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment, which has inspired the Gala’s theme?
Vayne: I have, actually. I went with my class, Commodity Histories. I thought it was a really interesting space to think about art as a commodity. My favorite painting in the exhibition was Fallen Bierstdat because it challenges us to consider what the history of American expansion really did to these landscapes that are often portrayed as idyllic and devoid of Indigenous peoples.
Julia: Awesome, I like that one too. How do you think Princeton Bhangra’s performance or bhangra in general reflects some of the themes in Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment?
Vayne: I think, broadly, bhangra originated in Punjab as a celebration of the harvest and Punjabi people’s relationship with their land. You can see this in some of our dance moves – one of the core moves of bhangra is meant to reflect the movement of corn fields billowing in the wind.
Julia: That’s a super interesting connection. We are excited to see this for ourselves. Last question – what’s your favorite part of the annual SAB Gala?
Vayne: You. (Both laugh) Just kidding. I really like events that draw students that wouldn’t otherwise come to the Art Museum, so that everyone can celebrate art together.
Julia: That’s what we’re all about. Thanks Vayne, and big thanks to Princeton University Bhangra.