Himanshu “Heems” Suri, who goes by moniker Deepak Choppa these days, is celebrating his first solo album since his rap group Das Racist disbanded in 2012. He kicked things off with an exhibit at New York’s Aicon Gallery titled “Eat Pray Thug” after Suri’s upcoming album of the same name. The show, which opened on Friday, deals with race, identity, and culture with a distinctly South Asian perspective featuring art by Suri, Chiraag Bhakta (*Pardon My Hindi), Chitra Ganesh, and several others.

Himanshu Suri & Chiraag Bhakta

Himanshu Suri & Chiraag Bhakta


“A lot of the art work is sourced from my travels in India and my childhood in New York,” Suri told ANIMAL at the opening, explaining that “Both the album and the art are about my life. They are both one and the same to me.” On one wall, gallery-goers could view artwork while listening to Eat Pray Thug streaming from two iPods.

“This show is really cool, we have American artists, Indian artists, Pakistani artists. It’s interesting to see it all together and how they interact,” Bhakta said. “Instead of putting us in an ‘Indian’ bucket, this show is trying to burst that bubble. That first layer of American culture is pretty special. We are not Indian, we are American. It’s cool to experiment with that and see what comes out of it.”

Aakash Nihalani

Aakash Nihalani


Throughout the next month, the exhibition space will also host a 24-hour performance by Choppa and live music by Riz Ahmed + Kominas. The exhibit closes on March 10, the day of Eat, Pray, Thug’s official release.

“Eat Pray Thug,” Himanshu Suri, Chiraag Bhakta, Chitra Ganesh, et al, Aicon Gallery, Feb 7 – Mar 10, NYC

(Photo: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)