Troubling Borders: Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora

Art and lit lovers! You might recall our June 2011 fundraising efforts towards the publication of Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora: Troubling Borders in Literature and Art, featuring the visual art and writings of  women of Cambodian, Laotian, Filipino, and Vietnamese descent, including those identifying as Mien, Hmong, and Cham. Some of the artworks have been on exhibit, since June 2012, at UC Riverside’s Sweeney Gallery. The book’s editors now invite you to attend the exhibit’s closing reception—combined with a reading and colloquium—on October 6-7, 2012, at UC Riverside.

The book will soon be published by University of Washington Press. So even if you can’t attend the events in Riverside, before too long, you’ll still get the chance to peruse this exciting collection of artists.

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Not to be missed!

Troubling Borders: Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora

Exhibit—June 30 to October 7, 2012, UC Riverside Sweeney Art Gallery

Closing Reception and Readings—Saturday, October 6, 6-9 p.m., free admission

Colloquium—Sunday, October 7, 1-3 p.m., free admission

The University of California Riverside Sweeney Art Gallery presents Troubling Borders: Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora, showcasing writings and visual works by women of Cambodian, Laotian, Filipino and Vietnamese descent, who create art that bear witness to the legacies of displacement and the hauntings of empire that linger to this day. The exhibition will feature paintings, drawings, photographs, videos, and sculptures by seven international, contemporary artists: Anida Yoeu Ali, Reanne Estrada, Lin+Lam, Ann Phong, Nalyne Lunati, Hong-An Truong, and Julie Thi Underhill. The writers who will be reading include Leakhena Leng, Karen Llagas and Julie Thi Underhill.

Forming an incredibly diverse group, these women writers and artists point to the ruptures caused by colonization, war, globalization, and militarization. Their stories and artwork are vital and varied, and together they provide a sharp contrast to normative narratives and ideologies that have been constructed in the West and the nation-states of Southeast Asia, particularly in the aftermath of the Cold War.

This multi-media art exhibition and colloquium also previews the contents and celebrates the upcoming publication of the first anthology by and about Southeast Asian women in the diaspora. Four years in the making, Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora: Troubling Borders in Literature and Art is edited by Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Lan Duong, Mariam B. Lam and Kathy Nguyen.

Hong-An Truong, Explosions in the Sky (Diện Biên Phủ 1954) from the series Adaption Fever, 2007, video, courtesy of the artist

By making these works visible to a large public and pushing the boundaries of literature and art, the editors highlight the global connections that draw many disparate groups of women together. The art exhibit and colloquium form one part of these larger efforts to promote the works of Southeast Asian women.

Troubling Borders: Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora is organized by UCR Sweeney Art Gallery, sponsored by the Chancellor’s Strategic Investment Funds at UCR, co-sponsored by UCR’s Department of Media and Cultural Studies, and curated by Lan Duong, associate professor, Media & Cultural Studies Department, University of California, Riverside, and Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, associate professor, Asian American Studies, San Francisco State University.

UCR ARTSblock is located at 3824 & 3834 Main St., Riverside, CA 92501, and includes three venues: California Museum of Photography, Culver Center of the Arts, and Sweeney Art Gallery, which are open Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m., plus 6-9 p.m. for First Thursday ArtWalks. Admission is $3, which includes entry to all three venues, and is free during First Thursday ArtWalks (6-9 p.m.). For film screenings, Culver Center opens 30 minutes prior to the start time. See website for additional information,


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