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The New York Times

This is the fifth annual exhibition sponsored by the South Asian Women's Creative Collective, an international network of artists. This year's participants are all of Indian descent, though only two of them, Shilpa Gupta and Bharti Kher, live in India; the other five are in the United States and Canada.

Unsurprisingly in art from or about a politically volatile culture, the work is grounded in social ideas. Ameen Dhillon's diaristic, accordian-fold book of prints depicting a bicycle trip through India is haunted by ghosts of a colonialist past. So are five pieces by Raj Kahlon. Each is a page from a British-produced 19th-century schoolbook, its illustrations of Indian ''natives'' repainted by the artist: a bearded holy man, for example, now wears a red-white-and-blue waistcoat.

Mariam Ghani moves out of a South Asian context with a video that interweaves shots of Middle East violence with last summer's ''subways series'' games: it's hard to know whether shadow figures are pitching stones or baseballs. Also thinking internationally, the Bombay-based Ms. Gupta offers a Web site that sells Indian diamonds while hinting at the unglamorous conditions under which they are mined and cut.

Gems are emblems of sexual identity in a sculpture by Ms. Kher: two identical casts of animals heads are distinguished by gender only because one is covered with hundreds of bindi, the forehead jewels worn by women. Chitra Ganesh inserts a lesbian subtext into Indian comic strip versions of popular myths, while Jaishri Abichandani further scrambles traditional role playing in a large-format photograph of a South Asian drag queen, which hangs like a banner outside the gallery window. (Ms. Abichandani also has a solo show at the Asian/Pacific/American Studies Gallery, New York University, through Aug. 26.)

The show has been organized by Melissa Chiu, curator of contemporary art at the Asia Society, and by Edwin Ramoran, a curator at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. In addition to their smart selection of artists, they have produced a clean, good-looking installation.

-Holland Cotter