Meet Nora Thajudeen, Development Fellow

Nora joined The LP team as our Development Fellow in March 2021 and will be working to support fundraising initiatives of all kinds. Get to know her!

In what neighborhood do you live?

Connecticut right now, but formerly based in Queens

How did you first become connected to The LP, or hear about The LP?

My university’s graduate career center reached out with the posting for the Development Fellowship role, that was my introduction to The LP.

What attracted you to The LP? How does working here relate to your professional goals?

I’ve always enjoyed art and been interested in the changemaking impacts of it —art and revolution go hand in hand, it says so much about a society on the art it cherishes; so The LP’s mission to create advocates amongst artists and neighbors is one that is very attractive to me. Right now, I’m exploring every aspect of the non-profit sector, so in Development I get to learn the ins and outs of funding a project of this magnitude. Eventually, I want to work with communities and build advocates amongst them to the best of my capacities. A personal aspiration is to work with the Wannilaettho of Sri Lanka to ensure their rights as Indigenous peoples are respected in the localities they live in. Working at The LP will help me in that journey.

Do you have your own creative practice? If so, tell us more!

I write poetry and try to paint (albeit not very well). I love poetry, though! In undergrad, the school’s literary magazine published a few, the first and last time I’ve submitted. I do want to write a book of poetry, it’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid; maybe one day I’ll get around to it.

Can you tell us about an artist or project that has inspired you?

I actually just pre-ordered my favorite poet’s (Safia Elhillo) newest book called Home Is Not A Country. Every time I read her work she makes me feel compelled to write my own stories in poems! One of my favorites is called “To Make Use of Water,” and it serves as a reminder to me of where I am from. Another artist I love and adore is Felix Gonzalez-Torres. While a lot of his work is pretty minimal at first glance, conceptually it is rich and brimming with the stories and traumas of being a gay person of color during the AIDS epidemic. Poignant work that makes me an emotional wreck!

What is your favorite… film? …album? …food?

Moana! I am obsessed with her! So many of my family looked like baby Moana as a child so it made me ugly-sob seeing her in theaters! Favorite album . . . oof okay definitely Channel Orange by Frank Ocean, Melodrama by Lorde, Fine Line by Harry Styles, Magdalene by FKA Twigs (stop me I will go on forever), and I will eat anything spicy just give me heat make me cry I love spicy food!!! Also bibimbap! And lamprais!

Where do you do your laundry?

Right now? My parents’ washing machine.

In your opinion, why does art matter?

Art makes things personal. Art makes empathy so much more than a passing emotion. Art sticks to you like gum to the top of your head on picture day—even long after its gone, a memory of it lingers. Art is like the only thing humans have bragging rights on; we aren’t cheetah fast, or can see a multitude of colors like shrimp do; but hey, at least we can make life fun and beautiful and emotional! Like how cool is that?

What LP value do you most relate to and why?

Writing Our Own Histories —as a teenager, I went through this existential crisis that sent me spiraling because the idea of life being cyclical with no apparent raison d’etre freaked me out, until one night it dawned on me (get it? LOL) that life is whatever I want it to be. So, I like the idea of writing my history.

Nora Thajudeen is The LP’s Development Fellow. She received her B.A. in Sociology, Public Service, and Public Policy at Hofstra University. At Hofstra, Nora organized for Amnesty International, built a community engagement and communications strategy for a community organization, and worked with focus groups for academic research. With a background and history of organizing for various causes around the world, Nora joins The LP team while finishing a Masters in International Affairs at The New School, where she focuses on affordable and inclusive housing policies throughout the world. Nora has always wanted to work to make art accessible and inclusive.