Reminiscence: A Southeast Asian Female Artists Exhibition

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REMINISCENCE A SOUTHEAST ASIAN FEMALE ARTISTS EXHIBITION

BY

SOE

YU

NWE

VIRTUAL CONCURRENT EXHIBITION

2021 NCECA | RIVERS, REFLECTIONS, REINVENTIONS

ORGANIZED

17 MARCH 2021 - 17 MARCH 2022


PUBLISHED BY

SOE YU NWE ORGANIZER


ARTISTS 06

AMY LEE SANFORD

28

Remembering and Healing

Fanciful Quotidian ((VIETNAM / USA)

(CAMBODIA / USA)

12

18

22

COLLEEN TOLEDANO

LINDA NGUYEN LOPEZ

32

NIA GAUTAMA

Symbolic Intimacy

Feminine Pain

(PHILIPPINES / USA)

(INDONESIA)

KHIN THETHTAR LATT

38

SOE YU NWE

Rebirth

Spring Ghosts

(MYANMAR)

(MYANMAR)

LE HOANG BICH PHUONG Psychological Amalgamations (VIETNAME / USA)

44

SUWANEE NATEWONG Between Natures (THAILAND)


CURATORIAL STATEMENT This exhibition features artwork created by female artists of Southeast Asian descent whose work explores notion of memory and reflection in the form of sculpture, installation, drawing and performance. In connection with this year’s themes of “Rivers”, “Reflections” and “Invention”, the artists are chosen not only by their common ancestral roots in Southeast Asia but also by their diverse and contemplative practices which converges in their use of clay. From traditional folk artist who sculpts with clay such as Suwanee Natewong (Thailand) to multidisciplinary artist Amy Lee Sanford (US/Cambodia) who creates performances by breaking and mending traditional Khmer pots, artists in this show approach their chosen material with different sensibilities and thereby diversifying the materiality of clay.


CAUGHT BETWEEN IDENTIFYING THEIR SENSE OF BELONGING in two or more countries, many artists in the show seek inspiration from their family history, cultural heritage and national trauma to explore the sense of self. Others explore female issues such as painful memories of rape and sexual assaults to narrate female resilience. Southeast Asian Contemporary Ceramics is an emerging field underrepresented in the American cultural landscape and artistic community. My goal as an aspiring curator is to share artwork by Southeast Asian artists to the international audience.

Soe Yu Nwe



AMY LEE SANFORD

Cambodia / USA

Remembering and Healing Exploring the intersection of trauma and healing, Amy Lee Sanford creates durational performances in which she breaks and reassembles Cambodian utilitarian clay pots. In refiguring the pot's broken shards, she reflects personal cycles of destruction and repair, and the cultural destruction and death associated with the Cambodian genocide in the 1970s. This excruciatingly exact and labor intensive process of mending each and every fragments of the broken pot is, after all, a poetic attempt to recollect and heal the personal as well as national wounds. -Soe Yu Nwe

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FULL CIRCLE

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For her debut performance piece and on the eve of her fortieth birthday in Phnom Penh, the artist sat silent on the floor surrounded by a circle of forty utilitarian Cambodian clay pots. During six consecutive days, she dropped and shattered each pot, then reattached the shards with glue and string before returning the repaired pot to the circle. This performance reflects upon sudden change in the human experience, and the slow process of repairing and rebuilding within the personal, community, national and global realms. -Amy Lee Sanford

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BUILDING AGAIN Commissioned by Our City Festival 2012 (Phnom Penh), and performed at Sothearos Park, Building Again consisted of people demolishing a freestanding 3m by 2m brick wall (built specifically for the performance), with sledgehammers and other hand tools. A large group of neighborhood children came and played with the rubble, and joined the second part of the performance. Collectively, the bricks were chiseled clean by hand, and used to rebuild the wall. The result was a wall approximately 25cm high by 3m long. -Amy Lee Sanford

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Amy Lee Sanford is a Cambodian Diaspora visual artist whose practice engages personal history to reflect upon traumas and losses that we all endure, and the lengths we go to manage and heal ourselves. Born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 1972 and raised in the United States, she holds a Visual Arts degree from Brown University, with concentrated study in engineering, chemistry and biology. Sanford's work has been shown around the world. A partial list includes Haus der Kunst (Munich), A+ Gallery (Kuala Lumpur), FramerFramed (Amsterdam), SF Cameraworks (San Francisco), InCube Arts (New York), Topaz Arts (New York), Bathurst Regional Art Gallery (NSW, Australia), the Singapore Art Museum and at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Roskilde, Denmark). www.amyleesanford.com Photo credits: Yavuz Gallery, Vinh Dao, Lauren Iida, Chean Long.

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Photo credits: Top image, Lauren Iida. Center image, Yavuz Gallery. Bottom image, Vinh Dao.



COLLEEN TOLEDANO

Philippines / USA

A Symbolic Intimacy Colleen Toledano’s work seem to explore the relationship between our body and the immediate forces in which it dwells. In the coalescing of nature into man-made or human with nature, the boundaries of each definition dissolve, and a sense of symbolic intimacy is achieved. There seem to be a quest to explore and interrogate one sense of agency within the space, the power over one’s social body and the relation one has with the natural world in the hopes of fulfilling a deep yearning for improvements. -Soe Yu Nwe

ME AND ME, COLORED PORCELAIN, 13 X 12 X 7 IN, 2020

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IN THE COALESCING OF NATURE INTO MAN-MADE OR HUMAN WITH NATURE, BOUNDARIES OF EACH DEFINITION DISSOLVE, AND A SENSE OF SYMBOLIC INTIMACY IS ACHIEVED.


LEAF HOUSE

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Colleen Toledano is an artist who works with ceramics and other media. A native of Buffalo, NY, she received a BS in environmental science with a minor in studio art at Allegheny College in Meadville, Penn. (2001), and an MFA in ceramics at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio (2005). She is currently an associate professor of design in ceramics at SUNY Buffalo State. Toledano describes her work as “influenced by the recognition of our society's yearning for building revitalization and body improvements." She has exhibited nationally and internationally. Examples of her work can be seen in the collections of the Alternate Space for Contemporary Arts (White Plains, NY), ArtPark (Lewiston, NY) and the Red Lodge Clay Center (Red Lodge, MT). www.ctoledano.com

HIM & HER, PORCELAIN, DIGITAL IMAGE 30" × 28" × 14", 2019



KHIN THETHTAR

MYANMAR

LATT

Rebirth In Myanmar artist and filmmaker, Khin Thethtar Latt's (aka Nora) intriguing clay performance, she enacted a scene where she repeatedly self-conceive a new symbolic self in order to recreate a cerebral path or memory lane that brings her back to the most peaceful, healing and alive place. This path of metaphorical rebirth walks her through repeated thoughts about the beginning of life, the unfolding of emotional trauma, the onset of war, memories of genocide and racial discrimination. -Soe Yu Nwe

THIS, VIDEO STILL, 2020

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REBORN This is my new performance to counter what happened today. There are a lot of things we didn’t have a chance to choose. We have to accept what we have. I carry myself in my womb to be reborn again and again in order to leave all the pain and trauma which was born together with me. Even Though we don’t have a chance to choose, we have a chance to be reborn who we would like to be. This is the process of our nature as well. It is the path through which life comes. It is also the beginning of emotional trauma. This is the beginning of the war This is a genocide This is racial discrimination This is also happiness This is also peace. This is also love-kindness. This is a unification. It's alive again. It's a healing process. This is a cycle of everything.

- Khin Thethtar Latt


Born and raised in Myanmar, Khin Thethtar Latt aka Nora is a multimedia artist who started her art career in 2009 as a performance artist. Currently based in Yangon, she has had numerous group exhibitions not only locally but also internationally such as in the UK, France, Hong Kong, Singapore, India and Malaysia. As a performance artist she has participated in Nippon Performance Art Festival in Japan, Super Market Performance Festival in Sweden and other performance art exchanges in Malaysia. In 2015, she was the Young Talented program Solo exhibition winner in the ION Art program in Singapore. In 2019, she had the opportunity to join an art residency program in Sweden. www.khinstudio.wordpress.com

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LE HOANG BICH PHUONG

VIETNAM / USA

Psychological Amalgamations Vietnamese artist Le Hoang Bich Phuong's practice involves reflecting on current social structures. She expresses her rumination of these invisible social and psychological forces in the forms of paintings and mixed media installation. Individual and societal pursuit as a whole is questioned as she portrayed her musing of people and societal commodities into fanciful and surreal psychological narratives. -Soe Yu Nwe

WHITE, BLACK & GOLD, PORCELAIN, STONE POWDER, GOLD LEAVES, DIMENSION VARIABLE, 2015

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WHITE, BLACK & GOLD This is the project based on “Utopia-Promised Land”. We are constantly compelled by an unidentified urge to fulfill our dreams, and likewise gain greater access to life’s blessings. We struggle and evolve in an effort to reach these dreams, to reach this end. To me, we are as random as the creation of planets. Born, then strung together in a cluster like a galaxy, an asymmetrical chain. Following our creation, we are impacted and influenced by each other. Like asteroids, actions create sequences we can at times anticipate. Other impacts set in motion unintended consequences. We seek and chase the broader spaces. We pay no mind to the effects they may cause surrounding planets. Somehow, we deviate from the universal system of order. Our path breeds jealousy, as we seek greener pastures just over the horizon. It is my belief that peaceful consciousness instills order. It is in fact our forgotten promised land abandoned in pursuit of meandering dreams. -Le Hoang Bich Phuong


I WILL JUST LIE DOWN HERE Lately, I have become obsessed with rau muống, a common tropical leafy in Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries. This plant is known in English as water morning glory or water spinach. I believe Rau Muống is the most favorite vegetable in Vietnam. Everyone enjoys it regardless of their financial status. It was too commonplace when I was in Vietnam. Since I relocated outside of my country, rau muống has become my obsession. I find myself usually reaching out to traditional Vietnamese dishes. It’s homesickness. In my homesickness, rau muống becomes more than just food. Comfort food brings up pleasant memories of a time when travelers are still with their loved ones. It is a very simple dish but it really brings out a different set of feelings compared to when I tried it in Vietnam. Now it makes me feel like I’m home. In these moments, I realize how the comfort foods come to define myself. No matter how far away I am from my homeland, Vietnamese food will remind me of my roots. Bich-Phuong Le Hoang I WILL JUST LIE DOWN HERE, 2021 WATERCOLOR ON RICE PAPER 15" X 15"


Bich-Phuong Le grew up in Vietnam and is currently a Portland-based and Saigon-based visual artist. Her artwork is driven by the individuality and the ambiguity about social structures, reality and mindscaping. Le started using traditional Vietnamese silk as her primary medium after she graduated from Ho Chi Minh University of Fine Arts, Vietnam in 2010. Her recent works have expanded to include ceramics and fiber-based materials. Throughout her career, Le has been given many opportunities to create exhibitions on Vietnamese traditional art techniques. Le has shown her works in Denmark, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. In 2018, Le became the first Vietnamese artist selected for the Institut France residency program, a residency sponsored by French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Recently, her works have been referenced in “La symblique dans l’art Vietnamien contemporain” by Francois Damon and “Contemporary Feminist Art in Vietnam” by Cristiana Nualart. www.lehoangbichphuong.com

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GIANT BLUE FURRY- RECTANGLE CERAMIC 4’ 10” X 24” X 24” 2018


LINDA NGUYEN

VIETNAM / USA

LOPEZ

The Fanciful Quotidian Linda Nguyen Lopez's ceramic sculptures and installation often reference mundane everyday objects. Born to immigrant parents of Vietnamese mother and Mexican father, she grew up in an environment where language often animates the surrounding household items. The sense of life perceived through everyday interaction with these objects inspires Lopez to interpret them into artefacts of imagination by deciphering and reanimating them. The nonsensical world of fictional entities she creates is an attempt to understand the world around her through consciously unlearning their identity and familiarity. By "animating the inanimate", she personalizes articles of childhood association into beings with a life of their own. BLUE/GREEN OMBRE DUST FURRY WITH GOLD ROCKS

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LINDA NGUYEN LOPEZ, JADE DUST FURRY WITH GOLD ROCKS


Linda Nguyen Lopez (b. 1981, Visalia, California) is first-generation American ceramic artist of Vietnamese and Mexican descent. Her abstract works explore the poetic potential of the everyday by imagining and articulating a vast emotional range embedded in the mundane objects that surround us. Lopez received a BFA from California State University of Chico and an MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her works have been exhibited in Italy, New Zealand, England and throughout the United States including the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville; Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach; The Hole, New York; Fisher Parrish, Brooklyn; Jane Hartsook Gallery at Greenwich House Pottery, New York and Museum of Art and Design, New York. She has been an artist in residence at The Clay Studio, Archie Bray Foundation, CRETA Rome, and Greenwich House Pottery. www.lindalopez.net

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NIA GAUTAMA

Indonesia

Feminine Pain The Raped Love by Indonesian artist Nia Gautama is a performance and installation inspired by stories of strong women who had experienced emotional pain and trauma because of men. During her performances, Nia interviewed women and listened to their stories ridden with domestic violence, infidelity and abandonment. Stories she had collected ranged from women being abandoned because of extra-marital pregnancies to women who experienced sexual harassment and verbal abuse in the hands of men they loved and trusted. Her installation recorded the collective memories of the female participants to tell a powerful story of female resilience in the Indonesian society. -Soe Yu Nwe REMINISCENCE | | PAGE 32


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THE RAPED LOVE



THE SACRED SCREAM


Nia Gautama (b. Jakarta, 1973) is an independent artist resides in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. She earned her Master of Fine Art Degree, graduated Cum Laude from Faculty of Art and Design, Institut Teknologi Bandung in 2016. Since early 2000, she has actively exhibited both at home and abroad and participated in numerous art biennales including The 5th Indonesia Contemporary Ceramics Biennale, Jatiwangi, Indonesia (2019), The 2nd Shanghai Modern Pot Art Biennale, Shanghai, China (2010), The First Jakarta Contemporary Ceramics Biennale (JCCB#1) (2009) and The Ceramic Road of Southeast Asia, Yingge Ceramics Museum, Taiwan (2009). Her work is in permanent collection of FLICAM Ceramic Museum, China and Lawangwangi Creative Space, Bandung. She was also a finalist for Gudang Garam Indonesia Art Award 2015. www.niagautama.com

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SOE YU NWE

Myanmar

Spring Ghosts Soe Yu Nwe is an artist from Myanmar. Her work is inspired by Chinese and Burmese spiritual folk practices and mythologies. She translates her experience of being a foreigner and outsider into sculptures and drawings that poetically transfigure the sense of fear, oppression and alienation. In her recent work, she explores a new direction of studying the past and archiving the present national trauma experienced by Myanmar during its time of political turmoil. -Soe Yu Nwe

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ON GHOST: A REMEMBERING


SOE YU NWE, BANANA TREE GHOST, 12" X 16" MIXED MEDIA ON ARCHES PAPER, 2020


ON FREEDOM

This is a piece I made in response to the news of the capture of NLD party, feb 1st, 2021. In the midst of global health crisis- the covid pandemic, our world is yet destabilized further more with the political unpredictability resulted from the military coup. I hope to capture this sense of destabilized reality in a palette that is hopeful. In this drawing of a peacock in captivity, the peacock serves as the national symbol of Myanmar.

SOE YU NWE, UNTITLED PEACOCK #1, 12" X 16" MIXED MEDIA ON ARCHES PAPER, 20021

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Soe Yu Nwe is a prolific artist from Myanmar. After earning her MFA from RISD, Soe has participated in numerous international residencies. Soe exhibits her work internationally in galleries and museums. Soe’s work has been acquired by the acclaimed Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art in Australia. Soe was named in 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30: Art & Style List. Soe Yu Nwe’s artistic practice explores notions self in relation to nature and culture. Reflecting on her own multicultural identity as being fluid, fragile and fragmented, she creates hybridized bodies by referencing the viscera and the botanical in nature’s various states of growth, decay and death. Soe Yu’s experience of living cross-culturally has inspired her to reflect upon identity through makingconceiving it as a fluid, fragile and fragmented entity. Through transfiguration of her emotional landscape by poetically depicting nature and body in parts, she ponders the complexities of individual identity in the globalized society. www.soeyunwe.com

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SUWANEE NATEWONG

Thailand

Between Natures Suwanee Natewong was the first female Southeast Asian ceramic artist whose work I had encountered when I was studying in the USA. Suwanee had created a large ceramic mural in the 1980s during her residency at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramics Arts, one of the most respected and internationally acclaimed ceramic organization in the USA. As a foreign student from Myanmar studying ceramics in the US, I was eager to find exemplary artists within the ceramic field of similar Southeast Asian origins since the ceramic curriculum rarely includes ceramic work from Southeast Asia. The whimsical narratives in Suwanee’s work instantly drew me in. Though lighthearted, her work is deeply genuine and thought provoking, while providing a glimpse of both the interior life of a woman and the cultural and spiritual life in Northeastern Thailand. Stories about comingof-age, romantic and sensual awakening and questions about one’s sense of agency in relation to social, religious and political control can be interpreted throughout her works inspired by various stages of the artist's lived experience and emotional growth. -Soe Yu Nwe

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FRIENDS

Friends is a ceramic mural created by Suwanee Natewong during her residency at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in the summer of 1988. The narratives in the mural is inspired by time spent with friends at the Bray. The mural was installed at the Shaner Studio Building during 2006 Bray International.

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SUWANEE NATEWONG

Puppet is an installation that explores the notion of in between of two opposite realms and one's agency within them. In the installation, one man and one woman dwell on each side of the door and are held captive to the desires of a playful spirit who might be acting in the role of a cupid. The door symbolizes both the entrance and exit point of two different worlds, and perhaps also, the merging of the two. This spirited cupid watching from above governs this space as it pulls all the strings to control this couple like marionettes.

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SUWANEE NATEWONG

In Amorous Dreams, the woman is dreaming. In her dream state, she is being led into thoughts of love by the same playful spirit who is in control of the couple in Puppet. REISE | PAGE 2 REMINISCENCE | | PAGE 48


SUWANEE NATEWONG

Girl and Snake is about a shy coy young woman who is still living within the protection of a family. However she is interested in the outside world even though she thinks it is dangerous and filled with snakes and other evils. She is looking out curious, and a little mischievous. REISE | PAGE 2 REMINISCENCE | | PAGE 49


Suwanee Natewong was born in Northeastern Thailand. In 1975 she moved to Dankwean Village, a traditional pot-making village and began her career as a ceramic innovator and business woman. She cofounded Umdang Ceramics, a design and fabrication firm that produces largescale murals and exports ceramics and other handicrafts worldwide. Suwanee's murals are installed in the studio building at the Archie Bray Foundation, and the Farmer Museum. She and her sister, Sudarat Koetmongkhol, collaboratively installed a mural in the Queen of Thailand's Lodge in the Phu Kweaw National forest, as well as in many hotels and government buildings. Suwanee has demonstrated her techniques in Nepal, Malaysia, Australia, Europe, Mexico, China and the United States. Suwanee had received grants and fundings from the US National Endowment for the Arts, the Archie Bray Foundation, LHProjects, and the Asian Cultural Council. She held a solo exhibition at the 1991 NCECA Conference in Tempe, Arizona. Suwanee was awarded a Fulbright Scholar in Residence Grant and was the Visiting Assistant Professor at Texas A&M, Corpus Christi in 1999. www.sites.google.com/site/umdangceramics

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AN OFFICIAL CONCURRENT EXHIBITION OF THE 2021 NCECA VIRTUAL CONFERENCE

ORGANIZED

BY

SOE

YU

NWE

WWW.SOEYUNWE.COM/REMINISCENCE


AMY LEE SANFORD, HAVE, 2020 PENCIL AND INK ON PAPER 8.6" X 11"


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